Walking and cycling key to tackling ‘poor air quality’ in Birmingham, says Sustrans

Walking and cycling are the key to tackling ‘poor air quality’ in Birmingham, claims Sustrans.

The walking and cycling charity has welcomed proposals for the establishment of a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Birmingham, but has claimed that the plans won’t solve the ‘air quality crisis’ on its own.

Sustrans director Midlands and East Matthew Easter said: “All the evidence shows that fewer, not just cleaner, car journeys are needed to improve air quality so cycling and walking must be part of the solution.

“That’s why we’re calling on the Council to reinvest the income it receives from the Clean Air Zone to make walking and cycling a safe and attractive alternative for short journeys.

“Let’s be clear, we’re dealing with a real air quality crisis which kills 900 local people every year – with many more suffering health problems.

“It really is time we tackled this problem courageously and collaboratively so our children can grow up in a safe and healthy environment."

Sustrans believes that the best way to reduce the number of vehicles on the road is to achieve a ‘modal shift’ away from cars and towards more sustainable forms of transport, such as cycling and walking.

As a result, they are calling on Birmingham City Council to reinvest any revenue it receives from the CAZ into alternatives that encourage people to walk and cycle, and have funds earmarked for e-bikes and e-cargo bikes to help with deliveries around the city.

The charity claims that if people used alternatives for just two return journeys a week it would remove around 200,000 cars from the city’s roads.

The consultation on the CAZ finished on 17th August and the Council will consider the findings before making a final decision.

The scheme will come into effect in January 2020, subject to approval by the Government.

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