Friends of the Earth Press Release
For immediate release
Contact: Libby Harris, Birmingham Friends of the Earth, 01216326909, firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Stride, Birmingham Friends of the Earth, 07973985187
City council’s bold plans to tackle air pollution are welcomed by Birmingham Friends of the Earth
Birmingham Friends of the Earth today welcomed the city council’s bold plans to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in the city. It strongly supports the proposals to charge the most polluting vehicles entering the proposed ‘Clean Air Zone’ (CAZ), including cars. More details of the CAZ were revealed by Birmingham City Council today in it’s full business case which will be considered at the council’s cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday 11th December.
Environmental lawyers, Client Earth, have taken the government to court about their failure to adequately tackle air pollution . The government has then passed the buck to cash-strapped local authorities to take action.
Martin Stride of Birmingham Friends of the Earth said
“We are pleased that Birmingham City Council is taking air pollution seriously. We believe it’s essential to include the most polluting cars in the charging scheme as they account for more than half of the toxic roadside emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in Birmingham . But it’s not just about cleaner cars; it’s also about fewer cars” he continued. “It’s crucial that there is a good range of alternatives to driving such as high quality, low -fare public transport, and safe and attractive walking and cycling routes. These could benefit many people”
“Even with the proposed CAZ and the further proposals, the council may need to look at what other additional measures could be needed to ensure that pollution levels are reduced to below the legal limits across the city in the shortest time possible, as is required by law.”
“The public health crisis created by air pollution is linked to around 900 premature deaths per year in Birmingham, according to the city council’s figures and as such is a public health emergency. Urgent action needs to be taken to save lives. If it was drinking water that was being poisoned, there would be a public outcry”
The council intends to introduce a package of mitigation measures and exemptions to help disabled people, those on low incomes, key workers, businesses and residents within the CAZ. There is also financial support planned for taxi drivers and Hackney carriage drivers to enable them to renew upgrade or retro fit their vehicles.
Martin Stride added
“We welcome these measures which are essential to ease the burden on those who will be most financially impacted by CAZ charges, as long as they go far enough to cover those disadvantaged and deliver cleaner air for all as quickly as possible. We note that these measures will be dependent on funding from central government. The ball is now firmly in the government’s court to cough up the cash”.
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