Yesterday we cautiously welcomed Birmingham Connected the City’s new Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. However we believe certain measures risk undermining some of the document’s overall goals, and it will very much depend on how and how soon it is implemented.
While not perfect, Birmingham Connected contains many sustainable solutions to Birmingham’s transport problems, which are causing dangerous and illegal levels of air pollution as well as serious congestion.
As an organisation that has been campaigning for more cycle investment to tackle poor air quality, we are particularly pleased to see the aspiration for £10 per person per year to be spent on cycling. We now need to see Birmingham City Council take concrete steps to ensure this happens, and to make a commitment to this level of investment for at least 10 years, regardless of the success of grant funding.
However, the commendable aims of the Plan are undermined by the false solutions of increasing capacity on some roads through the alleviation of pinch points. If Birmingham City Council is serious about reducing car use, then this can only be done through investment in the sustainable transport alternatives, such as Sprint and the re-opening of rail lines, outlined elsewhere in the document.”
How new sustainable transport infrastructure is financed is also vital. Birmingham Friends of the Earth is open to numerous ideas for generating revenue to pay for transport improvements, including a Workplace Parking Levy, Congestion Charging, Low Emission Zones, or using the Community Infrastructure Levy.
If a Congestion Charge is used, this must also include measures to tackle air quality. Furthermore any income generated by congestion charging, or any other form of charging, must be ring-fenced for improvements in sustainable transport.
We wait to see the plans in greater detail and also how funding will be generated!