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.
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.
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.
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