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Clean air efforts in Birmingham highlighted in Chief Medical Officer’s report

Published: 11th Jan 2023

The Chief Medical Officer’s annual report has shone a light on efforts being made in Birmingham to achieve improvements to the city’s air quality.

The 2022 edition of the report, which was published shortly before Christmas, focused on air pollution. It highlights the impact of air pollution on lung development in children, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and exacerbation of asthma, noting that the mortality burden of air pollution in England is estimated to be between 26,000 and 38,000 a year.

Featuring examinations of nationwide efforts to reduce pollutants, the report includes a significant case study on efforts being made by Birmingham City Council and its partners to encourage greener modes of transport.

Among these initiatives is the Clean Air Zone, which was introduced in 2021 in an effort to reduce the number of the most polluting vehicles entering the city centre.

Other measures being taken to improve air quality across the city include investments in public transport, electric vehicles and sustainable taxis, active travel infrastructure, improved walking and cycling routes and the provision of cycle and scooter hire schemes.

The report also highlights a range of initiatives around schools, including ModeshiftSTARS travel plans and ‘No Car School Streets’, which are helping to lessen the impact of poor air quality on the city’s young people.

Councillor Liz Clements, Cabinet Member for Transport and Birmingham City Council welcomed the publication of the report, saying: “The Chief Medical Officer’s annual report on air pollution examines the impact of some air pollutants on climate change, and is a stark reminder of the steps we must take to improve the quality of the air we breathe.

“It’s pleasing that Birmingham is featured in the report as a city that is introducing effective measures to reduce pollutants. We continue to focus our efforts on creating a much more sustainable city for our residents, and to help everyone in Birmingham reach their full potential.”

Councillor Mariam Khan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, also welcomed the report’s publication, noting: "Officers in the council’s Public Health team worked closely with the Chief Medical Officer’s office to develop a case study that describes and recognises our local work to tackle harmful air pollution in the city. These efforts are already improving the health of our residents by increasing air quality and reducing the inequalities we see as a result of the impact of air pollutants. This work will continue to contribute to these priorities in years to come.”

Read the Chief Medical Officer's report