Birmingham mulls pollution-busting car ban

Private cars taking ‘through trips’ could be banned from the city centre under radical plans to improve air quality

Birmingham is considering blocking all through traffic from its city centre under radical plans to improve the city’s air quality published this week.

The city is under pressure to cut air pollution to bring the city’s air quality in line with legal limits set by Brussels. The UK government has repeatedly stressed it will not water down environmental standards post-Brexit, while the EU is set to demand a high degree of alignment with existing standards as part of any trade deal. 

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As such, local authorities are under mounting pressure to strengthen air quality policies after a series of legal actions in recent years found that the government was in breach of current rules. 

Under its draft transport plan unveiled yesterday Birmingham City Concil proposed that traffic passing through the city centre would be re-routed via a ring road, resulting in only limited access for private cars to the city centre.

The plan would also see more streets in the city centre pedestrianised, a 20mph speed limit for residential areas, new bus routes, and the removal of free parking, in a bid to encourage more residents to walk or cycle to their destinations.

The plans would have to be backed by the city’s council later this month before moving to consultation stage, but the council’s cabinet member for transport and environment Waseem Zaffar said the city must break its “overreliance” on private cars and find more sustainable ways to keep

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