Birmingham City Council has published its new 2021 Air Quality Action Plan outlining plans to support behaviour change away from private vehicle use ahead of the new Clean Air Zone.
The plan outlines various steps that will be taken between 2021 – 2026 in order to improve air quality across the city, these include:
- Implementing strategic transport improvements in order to deliver an integrated public transport network within the next 20 years. This will incorporate three more Metro lines, nine cross-city bus rapid transit lines, reopening and upgrading rail routes and associated stations
- Promoting behaviour change away from single-occupancy private vehicle use
- Supporting an increase in cycling
- Providing the necessary infrastructure to support electric vehicles and improving access to grant funding to help the public and businesses to replace, upgrade or retrofit existing vehicles
- Using traffic management solutions to improve air quality by reducing numbers of vehicles, smoothing traffic flow or holding queues and congestion away from relevant exposure locations.
The findings in the report also reaffirm the need for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to deliver further air quality improvements in the city centre region.
Birmingham’s CAZ, which is due to be introduced in June this year, will cover an area of the city inside the inner ring road (A4540 Middleway) and once live will mean that the owners of the most polluting vehicles, which account for around 25% of the vehicles on Birmingham’s roads, will need to pay a daily charge to drive into or through the zone.
Stephen Arnold, Birmingham City Council’s head of the Clean Air Zone, said: ‘Birmingham currently has unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide, and we know this has a detrimental effect on the health and life expectancy of our citizens.
‘The Clean Air Zone is a significant first step in tackling this issue, but – as this plan has shown – other actions must be taken alongside its implementation if we are to make meaningful improvements to air quality.
‘We are already well on our way to delivering some of the priority actions in this plan, which align closely to the ambitions in Birmingham’s Clean Air Strategy and Route to Zero Action Plan.’
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