↑ There would be limited access for private cars under the plan but through trips would be banned. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA
Another city re-configures it’s centre
Birmingham could ban cars from driving through city centre
Proposal would involve rerouting traffic to ring road in attempt to improve air quality
Through traffic could be banned from Birmingham city centre under plans being considered by the council to reduce emissions.
The proposal, which forms part of the draft Birmingham transport plan, published on Monday , would involve rerouting traffic to a ring road in an effort to improve air quality in the city centre.
The plan is due to go out for consultation on 28 January and aims to make public transport, walking and cycling the preferred methods to travel in and out of the centre.
Waseem Zaffar, the council’s cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “As a city, we have been overreliant 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 will 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.”
Under the plan, there would be limited access for private cars but through trips would be banned. Lorries and other commercial vehicles would still be permitted to enter the city centre but restrictions would apply.
Proposals include creation of a network of pedestrianised streets and public spaces in the city centre, a 20mph default speed limit on all residential streets, removal of free parking and reintroduction of cross city buses.
More than one in four of Birmingham’s residents are obese, the highest proportion in the country, according to Birmingham University. The report says about a third of adults in the city spend less than 30 minutes each week on physical activity and that the average driver lost 134 hours in congestion in 2018.
A clean air zone is being introduced in Birmingham this year after the government called for five cities to reduce toxic air, as part of plans to tackle the illegal levels of pollution in 38 of 43 areas of the country.
Last year, the the city council voted to declare a climate emergency with a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.