Living Streets wants a healthier, cleaner and less congested West Midlands – by making walking safer, more pleasant and the easiest option for short journeys we can make change happen.


We are calling on West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, to deliver on his election commitments to ‘supercharge cycling and walking’ and make the West Midlands a region of walking cities.

Birmingham Clean Air Zone - have your say

Map of the proposed Clean Air Zone in Birmingham

Living Streets is pleased to see Birmingham City Council taking steps towards addressing its poor air quality with the planned imposition by 2020 of a new Clean Air Zone.

Now, with the council's proposals open to consultation, we are encouraging people to have their say so the plan not only gets the backing it needs to become reality, but is also fit for purpose.

Poor air quality currently contributes to 900 deaths across Birmingham each year. The city needs dramatic change to make it a safe place to live, particularly for its most vulnerable residents – children and the elderly.

Respond to birmingham council's consultation

What is being proposed?

Birmingham plans to establish a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) by the year 2020. 

The proposed CAZ, which you can see in the map above, will see the most polluting diesel vehicles charged to enter the area within the A4540 ring road, Birmingham Middleway.

The charge is expected to be £6-10 for private cars, rising to £50-100 for non-compliant buses, coaches and lorries, and aims to deter owners of more polluting vehicles from driving them into the city.

Download the CAZ consultation summary document - pdf

Speech bubble

What does Living Streets think?

We see this as a significant step forward in a wider drive to reduce the emissions, poor health outcomes and inefficient use of space that result from an over-reliance on private vehicles.

As such we encourage everyone to take part in the council's consultation, which is running until 17 August.

The consultation is simple, and shouldn't take you more than 10 minutes to complete. Before you submit your own responses, here are some thoughts we have about the proposals as they stand - perhaps they will help you formulate your responses.

  • In order for it to be effective the CAZ must also include the Birmingham Middleway, which it currently excludes.
  • Ultimately we would hope to see a city centre charge rolled out to the majority of private vehicles, making Birmingham a safer and more enjoyable place to live and work.
  • The commitment to reinvest revenue from the CAZ in public transport should extend to also include making the city centre for walking and cycling.
  • We urge the council to remain aware of the potential for the charge to push the more polluting vehicles onto roads through neighboring boroughs. We hope to see the West Midlands Combined Authority work with Birmingham City Council to ensure that the scheme results in better air quality for everyone throughout the region and marks the beginning of the roll-out of an exclusion zone to a wider area across the West Midlands.
  • To achieve these aims and build on the groundwork laid for the Clean Air Zone, Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority must act ambitiously and decisively to rethink how people move around both in Birmingham and in the other towns and city centres in the region.
  • We commend Birmingham for proposing restrictions on heavily polluting vehicles no matter who owns them.

And this is not only for Birmingham...

The benefits and implications of the way Birmginham's CAZ will affect people from across the West Midlands Combined Authority's area - which also covers Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton - and arguably council areas adjacent to these.

Also, the significance of the UK's second-biggest city adopting a CAZ is nationwide. This is definitely a case to watch!

Read Living Streets' consultation response - PDF


We are calling on West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to make the Walk to School safer to help tackle a host of problems including child obesity, congestion and air pollution. 

Our research has found that over a third of Birmingham parents (36%) think their city is unsafe for children walking to school.

Mayor Street's manifesto promised to supercharge cycling and walking.  

Andy Street said: “We have one of the highest rates of obesity in the country: around 40% of children here leave primary school overweight. A generation ago, 70% of people walked to school, now fewer than half of children walk to school. People don’t cycle and walk because there aren’t safe enough routes, or because they don’t know about them.”

His ideas included the transformation of the West Midlands canal network into "superhighways for cycling and walking safely to school and work".

He added: “We need to make sure that people are aware of what their cycling and walking options are with improved signage and efforts to increase people’s awareness of the routes in their area.”

After a generation of decline in the number of children walking to primary school (from 70% to 47%), central government has recognised the importance of walking to school and set the first ever walk to school target – to get 55 per cent walking to primary school by 2025.

We would like to see progress on these pledges within the first 100 days. We would like to see Mayor Street's ambitions in a plan of action to improve the walking environment for our younger generation, especially on walk to school programmes.



Download our Blueprint for Change

Our campaign aims in the West Midlands



  1. Appoint a walking and cycling champion
  2. Clean up the air and free up space
  3. Create people-friendly town and city centres
  4. Make our roads safer
  • Appoint a senior walking and cycling champion for the West Midlands within the first 100 days who will oversee a transformative behaviour change programme encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to walk and cycle more – improving the West Midlands for everyone.

  • Set up an ambitious low emission zone across the region that aims to reduce emissions, cut congestion and help pay for public realm and public transport improvements that will make the West Midlands a better place to live, visit and work. Mandate TfWM to assess the feasibility of a smart road-pricing scheme for Birmingham city centre that compliments the low emission zone.

  • Invest in walking friendly town centres and safe routes to school across the West Midlands that encourage people to make local journeys on foot, helps regenerate communities and brings more customers to local businesses.

  • Adopt a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road safety, that puts the elimination of road danger at the heart of the transport system and commit to 20mph speed limits across the West Midlands on streets where people live, work and shop.

Join our Walking Cities campaign