Council to consult on Clean Air Strategy for Birmingham

Published: 16th Aug 2019

Cabinet is set to agree the launch of a consultation seeking the city’s input into a wide-ranging strategy to help deliver cleaner air across the whole of Birmingham.

The council wants to launch a ‘Clean Air Strategy for the City of Birmingham’ which would see the authority go beyond its legal duties to tackle air pollution in all neighbourhoods across the city, rather than just those where pollution levels exceed legal limits.

A draft strategy has been drawn up with the purpose of bringing together the air quality-related work undertaken across all sections of the council, rather than just those under the current Brum Breathes programme, to ensure air quality is taken into consideration when decisions are made.

The strategy provides an introduction to the issues around air quality and focuses on a number of priorities and pledges to address these. However, the intention is for the strategy to be owned by the city of Birmingham, rather than Birmingham City Council, so it now requires input from members of the public and key stakeholders.

Subject to Cabinet approval, this will be done via a 12-week consultation, with feedback then being used to develop a working strategy for the city which would be reviewed every 18 to 24 months to ensure it remains current.  It comes as the Government also publishes its updated clean air strategy.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “We have already announced plans for a Clean Air Zone to help tackle the city centre’s worst pollution hotspots but if we want Birmingham to become a truly clean air city then we have to go even further.

“Rather than just focusing on areas where air pollution exceeds legal limits, we also want to go beyond our legal duties to deliver, support and enable interventions in neighbourhoods where levels are below legal limits, based on the needs and priorities of those local communities.

“We have drawn up this Clean Air Strategy following extensive cross-party engagement within the council as well as with key stakeholders at a Clean Air Summit we held in October. However, I want this to be a strategy owned by the whole of Birmingham, not just the council. I have always been clear that air pollution is a problem we can only tackle together – and that’s exactly what this strategy sets out to do.

“Local communities and partnership working are key to this strategy and we want as many people as possible to engage with us so that together we can develop a working Clean Air Strategy that will help deliver cleaner air and a healthier future for our children, their children and future generations to come.”

Cabinet is being asked to approve both the draft strategy and the launch of the consultation when it meets on 22 January.

The Cabinet papers, including the draft strategy, can be viewed here