Birmingham Plans City Centre Car Ban To Tackle Pollution
Birmingham City Council today announced plans to ban private cars from travelling across the city centre and potentially restricting daytime deliveries for trucks in a radical plan to beat pollution.
The controversial move comes after the council was told it must clean up its act on air quality. Birmingham already plans to launch a clean air zone later this year, but this would totally shake up the country’s second city.
The new transport plan for the city proposes a 20mph limit on all residential roads, rerouting the A38 and only permitting vehicles to enter and exit the city centre at certain points. Drivers travelling into the city centre would have to return to the ring road to carry on with their journey.
Officials hope the move will see more people use public transport, cycle or walk, and make a real difference to the environment, but critics have been quick to attack the plans, fearing businesses will be hit hard and city workers will be most affected.
Businesses that rely on trucks to transport their goods may be affected with restrictions to daytime deliveries. Not only will this affect businesses getting hold of stock, it will also impact on employees and driver hours, especially parents.
While the ambition of the council can be applauded, substantial investment must go into public transport because the city can barely cope with the current demand. Although the city’s New Street station has undergone a major multi-million revamp, rail users have suffered months of delays, overcrowding and cancellations.
As for the road network itself, if you are planning to add thousands of more cars, box vans and removal trucks on to the ring road and away from the city centre, traffic is going to grind to a standstill. Major roadworks to address the issue will only add to the delays and frustration felt by drivers.
To be fair to Birmingham City Council, it is doing its best to combat terrible air pollution, but these radical plans, while admirable and great in principal, are only going to push this issue out of the city centre into the surrounding areas. With several cities across the UK targeting air pollution, there needs to be a solid plan on how to improve air quality and reduce car usage without such radical measures being imposed.
Consultation on the plans will begin on January 28, subject to approval by the council’s cabinet a week earlier.