Call on Birmingham City Council to commit to cleaning Birmingham's air

This letter is from healthcare professionals in Birmingham who are concerned about air pollution and its impact on the health of all those who live and work in and around the city.

Dear Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council and Councillor Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for Transport and Environment,

As healthcare professionals we see the devastating impact of air pollution on the health of our patients every day.  

Research shows that exposure to small particles and gases from fossil-fuel derived air pollution have major adverse consequences on health.  Air pollution has been linked to many serious health issues - including cancer, asthma, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.1,2

Breathing dirty air is damaging the lungs of children across Birmingham, but especially those in the lowest income neighbourhoods who are most affected by air pollution due to their proximity to busy roads. We know that pollution impacts the development of children’s lungs, and can increase the risk of asthma in children and infections like pneumonia. Air pollution is a public health crisis, that we must address.

According to the government’s own research a clean air zone is the most effective and fastest way of dealing with Birmingham’s air pollution crisis so it is critical this policy is put in place at the earliest possible opportunity, therefore it is vital that Birmingham council take this issue seriously. We welcome the fact that the council want to implement a charging Clean Air Zone which will charge a wide range of polluting vehicles. 

We call on you to commit to: 

  • A city-wide Clean Air Zone - to ensure that the health of all of Birmingham’s residents is protected
  • Implement a schools’ clean air programme and perform a clean air audit of all schools in pollution hotspots.
  • Call on Government to  create a diesel scrappage fund that sees the companies who created this healthcare emergency fund the phase out of diesel vehicles 
  • Developing a wider strategy to reduce air pollution in the West Midlands - which includes plans for improved, affordable public transport with low emission vehicles and walking infrastructure, as well as delivering on ambitions expressed in the Cycling Charter - such as improving road safety and increasing investment in cycling. 

Switching more journeys to active travel will not only reduce air pollution but will improve health, quality of life and the environment, and local productivity, while at the same time reducing costs to the public purse. 

The undersigned.

 

Sources

  1. How air pollution affects your children's lungs - British Lung Foundation
  2. Understanding the Health Impacts of Air Pollution in London - King's College London, 14th July 2015

 

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