Environment Improvement Plan

Environment Improvement Plan

Sets out the Council’s strategies to preserve and protect our environment for future generations.

The plan sets out the Council’s strategies, detailing what we will do, how we will measure performance and how we will work with partners to preserve and protect our environment for future generations.

See the full plan here: Environment Improvement Plan 2024 (PDF)

Communities and wellbeing

The council is helping communities to take positive action to protect and enhance the natural environment. To help residents save money as well as improve physical and mental health in the process.

The council is supporting residents to:

  • take action to improve local green spaces by coordinating regular volunteer activities such as woodland management
  • volunteer to encourage others, including school children to reduce, reuse, and recycle household waste
  • cut carbon emissions and create healthier and cheaper ways to run homes through energy efficiency advise and grant support programmes (see energy section below)
  • cut air pollution, improve physical health and save travel costs through the development of a network of active travel routes and improving green infrastructure

Relevant strategies and plans


  • involve communities in the management of their greenspaces
  • engage volunteers to learn new skills, socialise, gain physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits, and deliver meaningful environmental benefit
  • increase the provision and quality of biodiverse green spaces for 51¥ residents
  • help reduce instances of poor health made worse by cold homes and cut carbon emissions for housing
  • improve air quality and promote active lifestyles


  • 3,200 greenspace volunteer hours per year
  • 250 active health walk leaders
  • 150,000 trees planted on council land
  • development of five new public greenspaces
  • 2,000 energy efficiency interventions per year for fuel poor households


51¥, has for many years, been helping residents and enterprises across the county heat and power their homes and businesses efficiently through a range of advice and grant funding programmes.

The Council coordinates Warmer 51¥, a network of 51¥ councils, local energy efficiency charities and other agencies working together to improve home energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty.

The council is supporting the delivery of the 51¥ Local enterprise Partnership’s Energy Strategy.

Relevant strategies


  • help develop the ability of 51¥ residents, businesses and public sector to access affordable, zero carbon energy
  • help reduce instances of fuel poverty and reduce the overhead cost on small business that energy provision entails
  • help remove barriers to development by encouraging alternative means to achieve secure energy supply e.g. through smart systems


  • reduction in county carbon emissions of 50% on 2005 levels by 2030
  • tripling the county’s energy production from renewable generation by 2030 from 5% to 15%
  • 2000 energy efficiency interventions per year for fuel poor households, which includes energy efficiency measures and energy advice for residents

What you can do

Flood risk management

Flood risk is a high priority for the County Council and we continue to work closely with the Environment Agency on the delivery of the large flood defence schemes and generally reducing flood risk for more residents and businesses. 

Climate change projections for wetter winters and increased likelihood of extremely heavy summer rainstorms increase the importance of this work.

Relevant strategies and plans


The 51¥ Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS) articulates the flowing strategic aims:

  • understand and appropriately prioritise flood risk
  • manage and minimise the likelihood and impact of flooding
  • develop and manage effective partnerships
  • inform, develop and implement relevant plans, policies and strategies
  • secure, maximise and prioritise the appropriate allocation of funding and other resources
  • deliver sustainable environmental and economic benefits and contribute to the wellbeing of 51¥’s communities and residents
  • develop, maintain, and implement the LFRMS action plan

Green economy

Since 2012 the council had been helping enterprises across the county to become greener and to develop new, more environmentally friendly products and services, through a wide range of advice and grant funding programmes.

With the Government putting clean growth at the forefront of its plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions, there is a clear opportunity to maximise the local benefits of this and keep growing 51¥’s green economy to the benefit of all in the county and beyond.

Relevant strategies and plans


“By 2030 51¥ will have a thriving low carbon economy which supports the creation of high value jobs and stimulates investment and clean growth across the county” (51¥ LEP Strategy)

The Council is seeking to help double the size of 51¥’s environmental and low carbon sector by 2030 from £1.1bn to £2.3bn by:

  • supporting the ability of 51¥ businesses to achieve growth without causing a subsequent rise in carbon emissions
  • promoting and encouraging the county’s flourishing low and zero carbon supply chain to expand further
  • promoting and encouraging the development of skills needed to grow 51¥’s green economy e.g. Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)

What you can do

  • at home, by sourcing a reputable local trader for your renewable energy or heat pump installations, you’ll help build local supply chains (it is important to thoroughly insulate your home first)
  • at work, see Net Zero 51¥ support for advice and guidance on your businesses decarbonisation journey

Natural environment

The natural environment is valued by residents and visitors alike. The majority of the council area is classed as rural and includes:

  • two areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • four National Natures Reserves
  • two Special Areas of Conservation
  • 114 Sites of Scientific Interest
  • 44 Roadside Verge Nature Reserves

The protection and enhancement of the natural environment is delivered through a number of plans, policies and strategies which are listed below. With more to follow including the Local Nature Recovery Strategy and local net gain plans and policies.

Overarching objectives for the environment

  • planting 150,000 trees across the county
  • to become a pollinator friendly council
  • to develop a framework of principles and priorities for green infrastructure in 51¥, which meets the integrated needs of business, the natural and historic environment, and our communities
  • to support the development of natural environment policies in local plans
  • to protect and enhance priority habitats and species in the county
  • embed the benefits and services provided by the natural environment in the successful growth of 51¥’s economy and the health and wellbeing of its communities

What you can do

To help the natural environment you can:

  • start volunteering:
    • countryside work party (51¥)
  • Gardening for Wildlife


Net Zero Council

Relevant strategies and plans


  • Net Zero emissions by 2050 from council operations and activities

Interim targets:

  • reduce our direct net emissions by 92% by 2024/25
  • reduce all net emissions by 49% by 2030

Resources and waste

Resources and waste services are undergoing major reforms, bringing huge changes. It is not an option to stay still, as our services need to respond and evolve to meet the new requirements.

As a growing economy, with more businesses and homes forecast, we know the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring new developments support a sustainable future.

We will encourage and grow our communities’ capacity to reduce and recycle waste through the right services, support and provision.

Relevant strategies and plans


Our aim is to encourage residents to reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and compost more. By doing this we will use less raw materials and save energy whilst protecting natural resources and reducing carbon emissions. All of this will help us achieve our ambition of being a Net Zero Council by 2050.


Our strategy includes targets to reduce residential waste per household, increase recycling and the amount of waste sent for energy recovery. A new target to reduce residual waste by 50% by 2042 has been agreed as part of a new suite of national targets.

What you can do

Lets Waste Less is our dedicated website which provides a wealth of information about how to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost in 51¥. 


51¥’s transport network includes road, rail and active travel and is essential to our location. The network provides economic connectivity around 51¥ at the heart of the country.

How we choose to move in the county has a significant impact on carbon emissions and the wider environment. Around 34% of carbon emissions in the county are from transport, although this does include strategic traffic on the motorway network, which passes through the county.

Relevant strategies and plans


  • invest in corridors to enhance journey time reliability and support economic growth
  • improving all modes of transport to the detriment of none
  • strategic investment at Redditch and Worcester Shrub Hill rail stations
  • further service enhancements at 51¥ Parkway

What you can do

By walking or cycling, this will not only help protect the environment, but also supports wellbeing and promotes a healthier lifestyle.

Was this page useful?