Next week, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve initiatives supporting five projects across the city as well as a programme providing funds directly to each ward.
If approved, the £5.2 million transport and environment CAZ (Clean Air Zone) programme is set to see the following projects developed:
Continuation and enhancement of the Car Free School Streets – which closes streets outside schools to car traffic at the beginning and end of the school day
Expansion of the inner Birmingham 20mph zone to include parts of North Edgbaston, Winson Green, Soho, Handsworth and Lozells
Development of next phase of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution – which would boost cycle infrastructure in the city
Provision of bicycles to Birmingham residents. The council has already given out free bikes under the banner of “Big Birmingham Bikes” and wants to expand this scheme
Expansion of the air quality monitoring programme in Birmingham’s schools – which is currently committed to supplying air quality monitoring at 140 schools but the aim is for it to cover all schools
At the same time, the £4.04 million Clean Air Zone (CAZ) Clean Air Fund is also set for approval by Cabinet, and would see between £20,000 and £40,000 handed out to wards (depending on whether they are single or double member wards).
Examples of measures which the ward funding could be used for include cycle bays, school traffic exclusion plans, sustainable transport measures and parking restrictions.
The Clean Air Zone is expected to generate surplus revenues of approximately £40 million over its lifetime which must be used for transport measures to benefit the public and improve air quality.
Other uses of Clean Air Zone funding already identified include:
Funding for hydrogen buses (£3.4 million)
City centre public realm works (£8.6 million)
Upgrade of University Rail Station (£3.4 million)
Delivery of the new Camp Hill Rail Stations (£5.22 million)
Delivery of Cross City bus projects (£4.2 million)
A report to cabinet members on the transport and environment CAZ programme states: “Above and beyond the specific goal of reducing the levels of nitrogen dioxide within the shortest possible time it was always expected that the role of the CAZ would be to encourage longer term changes in travel behaviours, by encouraging people to leave a ‘non-compliant’ vehicle at home in order to avoid the daily fee or through the investment of surplus revenues in infrastructure or schemes that further encourage this change.
“The proposed projects will support many of the city’s communities in accessing better active travel infrastructure, making residential streets safer and enhancing the environment of the journey to school for pupils.”