West Midlands proposes re-opening disused railway lines to tackle climate change

Vegetation removal for the Midland Metro Brierley Hill extension.

Opening up railway lines closed for decades, expanding the Midland Metro and introducing new, faster bus routes as more environmentally friendly alternatives to using cars are just three of the measures announced by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in its report on tackling climate change across the West Midlands.

The #WM2041 report is intended to start the conversation on tackling climate change in the region. It contains 74 potential actions that businesses, councils, the WMCA and residents can take to limit the impact of climate change and achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2041.

These include such measures as expanding electric vehicle charging points across the region, introducing LED street lighting, tree-planting programmes, and the existing ‘brownfield first’ policy which is delivering thousands of homes on derelict, industrial land while reducing pressure on the region’s Green Belt.

The West Midlands is already opening up one disused railway line – The South Staffordshire line which will be used, from Potters Lane, Wednesbury to Brierley Hill via Dudley, for the Brierley Hill extension to the Midland Metro.  There are also plans for other stretches of the same route.

Ian Courts,
West Midlands Combined Authority.

The report will now be used for public engagement and then form the basis of a comprehensive climate strategy to be presented to the WMCA board later this year. Launching it, Councillor Ian Courts, the WMCA portfolio holder for environment and Leader of Solihull Council, said: “The West Midlands once led the world in the industrial revolution, bringing wealth, innovation and opportunities to the people of the region. It is only right that the West Midlands should now be leading a new, green revolution which will protect and enhance both our environment and our economy.

“This report starts a conversation about how we in the West Midlands tackle the climate crisis without leaving anyone behind. Our ambition is to tackle climate change in a way that reflects and respects the heritage and the people of the region.”

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