Friends of the Earth Press Release
For immediate release
Contact: Libby Harris, Birmingham Friends of the Earth, 01216326909, firstname.lastname@example.org
Birmingham City Council’s plans to tackle air pollution lack commitment to reinvestment in greener transport alternatives
Ahead of the six week public consultation on a Clean Air Zone, the cabinet report reveals plans for a charging zone within the inner ring road and a lack of commitment to the supportive measures that will give everyone a choice of alternative travel arrangements.
The report states that Birmingham City Council plan to charge buses, taxis, HGVs, LGVs and private cars passing through the A4540 Middleway ring road. Birmingham Friends of the Earth believes that this is only a starting point, and it is absolutely essential that a charging zone is accompanied by supportive measures to improve public transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Through such measures, the Clean Air Zone should promote a short and long term shift out of car use in Birmingham.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth welcome plans for a scheme that provides additional support to groups such as taxi drivers, disabled people, small businesses and residents within the charging zone. The group wholly agree with these measures and urge the council to put the needs of such groups at the forefront of their plans.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth would like to see the charging zone revenue spent on clean transport alternatives, better connections for walking, cycling and bus use, and increased capacity of buses and trains to support commuter foot traffic.
As stated in the cabinet report, the Transport Act of 2000 says that revenue from the charging zone must be reinvested into public transport infrastructure. The cabinet does not provide enough clarity on how this legislation will be met, stating that the charges may cover some or all of the costs incurred by the introduction of the Clean Air Zone. Birmingham Friends of the Earth call on the council to provide a detailed breakdown of these costs and an indication of when we can expect to see the results of the reinvestment.
The report states that additional measures to improve air quality are likely to require an additional public consultation prior to introduction. Birmingham Friends of the Earth are disappointed with this comment and urge the council the ensure these considerations sit firmly within the plans for the Clean Air Zone.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth recognises the crisis of air quality and its health impacts on residents right across the city. We see this as an opportunity to change to a cleaner and more sustainable transport system to benefit the whole city, but only if the council implement essential supportive measures to improve our air quality.
Poppy Buckingham, from Birmingham Friends of the Earth said:
“The Council plans which went to cabinet today are very much a starting point. A charging Clean Air Zone will only be truly effective if the plans include supportive measures such as; improving the walking and cycling infrastructure and improving public transport across the city.
“Central government needs to take effective leadership on tackling the air pollution crisis and provide the necessary support for Local Authorities in order for Birmingham to be a truly clean air city.”
Reference: Birmingham City Council Cabinet Agenda, Tuesday 26 June 2018 at 15:00 Hours
Notes to Editor
Birmingham Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. We campaign on a range of issues including climate change, biodiversity, waste, transport and food. For further information visit www.birminghamfoe.org.uk
Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s air pollution petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-birmingham-city-council-to-tackle-air-pollution