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Key actions to improve air quality in Birmingham

Published: 7th Apr 2021

With less than two months to go until the launch of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone, the City Council has published its Air Quality Action Plan 2021.

The new Plan will replace the Council’s previous Air Quality Action Plan 2011 and outlines some key actions to improve air quality in Birmingham between 2021-2026. They include:

  • Supporting and implementing strategic transport improvements to continue work on delivering a £1.2 billion 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 through improving public transport
  • Supporting behaviour change and promoting an increase in cycling through the Birmingham Cycle Revolution.
  • Promoting the use of alternatively-fuelled vehicles to reduce both air pollution and carbon emissions from transport
  • Providing the refuelling infrastructure to support private and personal decisions in choice of new vehicles as well as accessing grant funding to replace, upgrade or retrofit existing vehicles in key service areas.
  • 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 to deliver air quality improvements in the city centre region.

Birmingham City Council’s Head of the Clean Air Zone, Stephen Arnold 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.”

The Air Quality Action Plan also sets out a strategy for assessing air quality in key areas around the city, with an ambition to install six new air quality monitoring stations by December 2021. Further assessments will help to identify areas of poor air quality in Birmingham, the causes and what appropriate action can be taken to help improve it.

The Air Quality Action Plan 2021 was consulted on from 21 September – 2 November 2020. More information and a direct download to the report is available on the Birmingham City Council website.