Birmingham could ban the use of private cars in the city centre in order to tackle air pollution, according to proposals in the newly published Transport Plan.
Road transport is the largest source of air pollution in Birmingham’s city centre and according to the report, road transport currently accounts for 80% of all nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions in the city.
In order to tackle this problem, the council has announced that there will be a move away from private cars, to instead supporting active travel and a more efficient public transport system.
Cars on the A38 could be rerouted to an upgraded ring road around the city, and the city’s tunnels could be used for public transport only.
Investments will be made to the existing public transport systems, for example, a £1.3bn investment to extend the Midland Metro.
The report also outlines plans to increase support for the use of cleaner fuels, for example with investment to Tyseley Energy Park, a charging point for electric vehicles.
It is expected that Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will come into operation in the city centre in July 2020. Drivers of high-polluting cars will have to pay £8 to travel into the city centre, with the CAZ operating for 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
Cllr Waseem Zaffar, a cabinet member for transport and environment, said: ‘As a city, we have been over-reliant on private cars for too long and with more people choosing to live and work in Birmingham, we need to find innovative new ways to keep the city moving in an efficient but sustainable way.
‘The more journeys we take by walking and cycling, the more we improve air quality and our health and the more we will reduce congestion.
‘For longer journeys, buses, trams and trains will be the backbone of a new, go-anywhere transport system.
‘Birmingham has already started to redress the balance and build a future in which the car will no longer be king.
‘The introduction of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone will reinforce our commitment to establish a zero-emissions city.
‘The Birmingham Transport Plan, once adopted, will continue to build on these strong foundations, future-proofing our transport system and ensuring that we are able to move around our city in a faster, more efficient way with cleaner air and less congestion.’
If the proposals are backed by the council’s cabinet on 21 January, a consultation on the plan will begin on 28 January.
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