A lack of skills and access to adequate funding will hold back the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) net-zero ambitions, according to a new report from RICS released today.

The report, written by ten organisations located in the West Midlands who have united with RICS to respond to the WMCA’s climate consultation #WM2041, highlights that to fulfil any targets, the region’s skilled labour force needs to be equipped with adequate training in new and future techniques and technologies.

It also highlights concerns around the funding mechanisms and costs of developing net-zero building and infrastructure; how consumer behaviour can be changed to help deliver results; and the growing demand for action over planning against the climate crisis.

However, the report also highlights some of the biggest opportunities the West Midlands can build off. The future of UK rail is centred around the region and will deliver clean growth; the authority have the powers to reduce embodied carbon and whole life carbon by working with professionals in the built environment; and the West Midlands are perfectly positioned to deliver ambitious innovation, small changes by thousands of small firms will make a large difference.

Making #WM2041 a reality: A collaborative approach to the West Midlands’ goal of zero carbon is a collective response from some of the largest firms and influential organisations operating in the West Midlands, addressing the key issues which will hold back the net-zero ambition.

To turn ambition into reality, RICS and the supporting ten organisations will back the WMCA report’s request calling on businesses to have their say, by writing to Government calling for both an education drive to boost the region’s skilled labour force, and to also give the authority more control over funding to make tangible change, and quick.

Pam Waddell OBE, Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands 

“WMCA rightly recognises that there is real opportunity here for the West Midlands. We have innovation strengths that can be applied to the shared challenge of seeking net-zero, strengths that can bring huge economic and social benefits to the region. Our region has massive capabilities in advanced manufacturing, in data and in integrated systems – exactly the expertise needed to develop ambitious zero-carbon solutions.”

“The report has many examples of public sector action. More emphasis needs to be placed on engaging with and facilitating opportunities for the private sector. Solutions to the climate challenge will come both from the private sector and markets that will drive inclusive and sustainable growth. The Innovation Alliance WM is evangelical about challenge-led innovation, demonstration and testing innovations at scale. This can identify and knock down the barriers to implementation and scale-up of new products and services, thereby kick-starting commercial opportunity. We need to engage the private sector from the start, so it is West Midlands’ companies exporting solutions to the rest of the world and not vice versa.”

Read the report in full here.