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UK’s Second Largest City Takes Radical Measure To Curb Pollution

The second-largest city in the UK, Birmingham, unveiled on Monday a plan to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions by limiting access of private cars to the city center.

Under the draft plan the Birmingham City Council published today, “Access to the city centre for private cars will be limited with no through trips,” meaning that drivers have to return to the ring road for access to different areas of the city.

The plan is part of Birmingham’s measures to cut transportation’s impact on environment and air quality and support the city’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“Birmingham has already started to redress the balance and build a future in which the car will no longer be king. The introduction of Birmingham's Clean Air Zone will reinforce our commitment to establish a zero emissions city,” said Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment.

The city’s draft plan is subject to approval by the UK cabinet later in January and is set to go out to public consultation from January 28 onwards. 

Birmingham is the latest city in the UK aiming to limit the use of private vehicles in a bid to reduce emissions and air pollution.

Last week, for example, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council published final draft proposals for the UK’s first city centre Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), which is set to be established later in 2020.

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“The ZEZ aims to reduce Oxford’s toxic air pollution levels, tackle the climate emergency, and improve the health of those living, working, and visiting in Oxford and beyond,” the Oxford City Council said.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of the UK’s capital and largest city, London, also has ambitious plans to limit the use of private cars.

In 2017 the mayors of 12 big cities worldwide—including London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland, and Cape Town—pledged to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030.

“I want to make London one of the greenest cities in the world – that’s why I’m putting walking, cycling and zero emission public transport right at the heart of Londoners’ day-to-day lives alongside energy efficient buildings, clean energy and increased recycling,” Khan said in 2017.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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