Birmingham City Council has revealed radical plans to restrict cars from driving through the city centre
Business leaders in Birmingham are urging the council to engage with local businesses about their radical plans to restrict motorists from driving through the city centre.
Cabinet member for transport and environment Cllr Waseem Zaffar has outlined Birmingham City Council transport plans to reduce private car use to improve the city’s air pollution levels.
While backing the council’s aspirations to promote sustainability in Birmingham, the city’s business community has highlighted concerns for the local economy.
Issues about reliance on public transport have been identified in particular for late night entertainment businesses.
There are also issues raised about additional costs that the plans could put on local firms as they recover from the pandemic.
5 key points about Birmingham City Council’s transport plan
- The scheme would see the introduction of low traffic neighbourhoods with cars re-directed away from huge parts of the city centre and the A38 Queensway cut off to motorists
- Car use is already set to be restricted in parts of the city centre with the cabinet due to approve plans to approve a Birmingham City Segment Scheme next week.
- The segment scheme would see the city centre divided into seven segments with each one only accessible to private cars from the ring road (A4540 Middleway)
- This Segment scheme would see public transport, cyclists have pedestrians enhanced access to moving between segments.
- Air pollution in Birmingham is thought to be responsible for 900 deaths per year
What Birmingham business leaders say
Paul Fielding, Deputy Chair of Colmore BID and Chair of the BID’s Accessible & Connected working group, highlighted concerns for the city’s night time economy.
He said: “Since Colmore BID’s inception in 2009, we have worked closely with Birmingham City Council on fine-tuning the measures in our District, to reduce traffic in the city centre.
“Schemes such as the Clean Air Zone and Snow Hill Masterplan are examples of collaborative working to achieve the goals outlined in the new Transport plan.
“With an increased reliance on public transport, we hope that additional thought is given to the Night-Time Economy, which has suffered significantly during the Covid pandemic.
“We all need to make climate change and pollution our business and we as a BID will continue to work with Birmingham City Council and partners to make the area safer, cleaner and greener for all.”
Henrietta Brealey, chief executive of the GBCC, said: “The changes proposed in the Council’s Transport Plan are likely to lead to a huge overhaul of the way we move goods and people around the city.
“It’s clear that the importance of the sustainability agenda has gained even greater traction during the pandemic and our members recognise that action needs to be taken to reduce dangerously high levels of pollution.
“Let’s not forget that many businesses have been rocked to their core by the pandemic and are only just embarking on the long road to recovery and will be concerned about any additional costs they could potentially face.
“We would urge the Council to take a pragmatic approach and constructively engage with firms in order to fully appreciate the impact these changes are likely on the wider business community.
"As a Chamber, we will endeavour to work proactively with Birmingham City Council to ensure the views of business are recognised and reflected throughout the plan.”
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