For anyone who visits Birmingham occasionally the limited routes now in & out of the City Core is playing havoc with Google Maps who haven’t yet caught up!. Whilst supposedly experimental there is no doubt that the closing of roads ‘the rat runs’ through the City Core , within the ring road, is proving to be very successful for those living & working here. Office workers & apartment dwellers have commented to us about the cleaner air. The city scheme was originally scheduled to go live in 2020, however, in response to the impact of Covid-19, the launch date was postponed and the zone actually went live last summer. In densely populated residential areas, the Council aim is to create an environment where residents, workers and visitors can safely walk, cycle or take public transport as their preferred travelling option. This is part of a 20-year transport strategy with a number of projects to lower emissions and promote cleaner, greener transport. This is in line with many other Cities across Europe.
Clearly for residents the clean air policy means some cars need to be updated or have the wrath of fines. 93% of vehicles haven’t had issues but the balance will now get caught by the 67 enforcement cameras now policing the area. Nitrogen dioxide levels were reported as being down by 20% within three months of the policy starting which was quietly positive. This is set to improve further. The Policy is reviewable every five years but I sense we are now unlikely to go back.
Asking why we need this is now obvious looking at the cranes across the City Centre. Only 30 years ago inner city populations in the UK that had grown rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries had dwindled with the nineteen sixties residential blocks failing to kick start the move into Town.. Residents leaving cramped, urban housing for more spacious suburbs and new towns, nearby was the sought after solution. The reversal that has taken place, very clearly noted here in Birmingham, is a dramatic urban renaissance and a shift in how people now want to live. Since the Millennium the population of most UK town and city centres has doubled in size, while the population of the UK has increased by only 10% .With Birmingham the second-largest city in England, with 2.6 million people in the urban area and latest figures show 984,000 in the city area. The city’s population his continuing to grow and it is predicted to reach just over 2.8 million people by 2035. The statistics further show the number of 20 to 29-year-olds in the centre of large cities ,those with 550,000 people or more, tripled in the first decade of the 21st Century, to a point where they made up half of the population. Much of this growth is attributed to migration into Birmingham comes from international locations and other parts of the UK.
For existing residents, todays vibrancy of Birmingham is now obvious. For new residents coming in it is undoubtedly very exciting & we are very keen to assist!