Leaders from three of the UKâ€™s largest city regions â€“ Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Oxford â€“ have signed up to a major international pledge to reduce the number of polluting vehicles on city streets.
Representatives of the cities signed the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration alongside leaders from Tokyo, Seoul, Warsaw, Rotterdam, Oslo and Honolulu ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this week.
Cities including London, Paris and Los Angeles have already signed up to the pledge, which also includes commitments to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles present in city fleets, and to increase rates of walking, cycling and public transport (see airqualitynews.com story).
According to C40 Cities, the organisation behind the commitment, the actions are intended to help speed up the adoption of low and zero-tailpipe emission vehicles worldwide.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: â€œToday, I stand alongside the Mayors of some of the greatest cities in the world. Iâ€™m committed to a cleaner, greener and healthier future for Greater Manchester.
â€œAround a third of greenhouse gas emissions in our city-region come from transport and road traffic is the biggest source of air pollution.
â€œWe are currently developing a Clean Air Plan for Greater Manchester to help tackle this urgent health and environmental issue.â€
Cities will report back every two years on the progress they are making towards the goals of the C40 Declaration.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment at Birmingham city council, said: â€œIn Birmingham, we are committed to addressing the issue of air quality and are currently working on proposals for a Clean Air Zone which will see the most polluting vehicles charged to enter the city centre as we move to encourage more people to walk, cycle or use public transport instead.
â€œWe want to work with our partners at Transport for West Midlands to bring forward the cleanest bus fleet possible to help us achieve a city where our children, their children and future generations to come all have access to clean air, as is their basic human right.â€
A further pledge includes working with suppliers, fleet operators and businesses to accelerate the shift to zero-emission vehicles and reducing vehicle miles in cities.