Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council – 30th July 2020

The main message still remains: stay alert, control the virus, save lives – and keep social distancing!

One unexpected statistic that has come out of this Covid-19 pandemic is the role that obesity has played in determining people’s ability to fight off the infection. 

We were told that older people and those with underlying health problems would be more vulnerable, and sadly this has been the case. But the data now shows us that obesity is also a key factor in determining how seriously you are likely to be affected by Covid-19. 

It has prompted the Government to unveil its new obesity strategy, supporting those who are obese to lose weight.

A raft of measures have been revealed as part of this strategy, all aimed at getting the nation fit and healthy, both to help protect individuals against Covid-19 and protect the NHS. 

Obesity is one of the biggest health crises the country faces. Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity – and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese. As well as having a huge impact on the everyday lives of those affected, obesity-related illnesses cost the NHS nearly £6 billion each year. 

The urgency behind tackling our obesity time bomb has been brought in to stark relief by evidence of the link to an increased risk from Covid-19. 

The strategy is being launched alongside a new ‘Better Health’ ( campaign, led by Public Health England, which will call on people to embrace a healthier lifestyle and to lose weight if they need to, supported by a range of tools and apps providing advice on how to reduce the waistline.

In Solihull we’ll also be doing weekly challenges for the older age group who don’t have families or have older families, as part of our Active August campaign. More details are available on the Solihull Active Facebook page or keep an eye out for tweets on

There’s also a lot of advice on our website to help you manage your weight more effectively.

Watching what we eat is only one part of the campaign. We need to become more active, walk or cycle rather than take the car and get regular exercise. 

As part of a phased approach our leisure centres opened their doors to gym-goers last week and this Saturday the swimming pools will follow suit, offering lane swimming.

Safely re-opening our swimming pools required lots of work by officers and Everyone Active (our partners responsible for running our leisure centres), in order to adapt the pools for social distancing. Swimmers will operate in double width lanes in reduced numbers and for limited time periods. The shower facilities will also be unavailable in order to keep all swimmers safe.

A booking system has been introduced to manage numbers and to avoid overcrowding. So if you want a swim, you will need to pre-book for a session and you will have to pick a slow, medium or fast lane. This is because you can’t stop once you are in the pool in order to maintain social distancing.

Each session will be a maximum of 50 minutes long, with 10 minutes at the end to allow for cleaning. Full details can be found on

Many children will also be enjoying the chance to take part in summer camps or activity sessions and it’s great for them to be able to see friends and burn off some energy. Please make sure, though, that whichever organisation is running any events your child is attending, it has good procedures in place for social distancing, hand washing and regular cleaning routines. Whilst we know that children are less severely affected by the virus than other age groups, simple and sensible measures like these will help reduce the risk of transmission.

Following a review of the Emergency Active Travel Measures we recently introduced across the borough, we are going to make a few minor changes in response to the feedback we received on our portal (

The bus lane closures on Lode Lane and Bickenhill Lane will be removed this Friday (31 July) so they will be fully operational from Saturday 1 August. The short section of closed lanes in front of Solihull School will be temporarily removed, as it’s the school holidays and we are looking at increasing disabled parking provision on Station Road in Solihull town centre and on Stratford Road in Shirley, while the current service road restrictions are in place.

Finally, I have been asked to let you know about a section of the M42 being be closed from Friday 7 August to Monday 10 August between junctions 6 and 7A (northbound) and junctions 7 and 6 (southbound). The closure will be in place after the evening rush hour on Friday with the motorway reopening before the morning rush hour on Monday.

It will allow LM (a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons who are carrying out early HS2 works) to install the bridge deck for the first of four new connecting highway bridges. These bridges will link a new road network with existing routes to ensure the local road network is fit for purpose when the HS2 Interchange Station is operational.

During the temporary closure, diversions will be in place and clear signage will be displayed along the route for drivers:

Click here to find out more about this road closure and the works taking place.

Take care!