Pupils from an inner-city primary school have planted the first of 1,000 trees set to be placed along the route of the Sprint bus route.
The children from Anglesey Primary School in Lozells picked up their spades and helped put 10 trees, of various types including cherry and walnut trees, in nearby George’s Park.
Cross city bus services linking the A34 and A45 are due to start running between Walsall, Birmingham and Birmingham airport from next spring.
Cllr Waseem Zaffar joins pupils from Anglesey Primary School in Lozells to plant trees in Georges Park
Work on new shelters and bus lanes meant that 22 trees lining the route were removed earlier this year.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) bosses made a commitment that Sprint will leave a positive impact on the environment and, as well as running zero-emission buses and providing an efficient alternative to private cars, a total of 1,000 new trees will be planted in parks and open spaces along the route.
The trees will also be registered on the West Midlands virtual forest website tree planting campaign to improve our environment and air quality and part of the wider #WM2041 plan for a net-zero region by 2041. TfWM will be working with communities to identify appropriate locations.
These first ten trees will be followed by a further set of fruit trees due to be planted in the same area to form a small orchard.
Joining the school children for the planting was Cllr Waseem Zaffar, who represents Lozells ward and is Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for transport and environment.
He said: “It was fantastic to join the children for the tree-planting – this is their local park and they will be able to enjoy the orchard and the wildlife it attracts for many years to come.
“With zero-emission vehicles and more reliable services bypassing the traffic jams, we hope to persuade more people to give up their cars for their commute in and out of Birmingham.”
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street added: “We have committed to a net-zero carbon region by #WM2041 and are serious about cutting our emissions. So we are planting 1,000 trees near to the A34 and A45, which will become part of our virtual forest and leave a lasting green legacy. It is also an important reminder of our local response to the climate challenge at this time when the world is coming together for COP26.
“And of course Sprint is just one part of our wider investment in public transport, which includes reopening rail stations and lines, expanding our metro tram network, developing cycle routes, and better bus services – all to offer people better connections and provide more convenient alternatives to the car as we look to cut air pollution.”
TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is developing Sprint in partnership with Walsall, Solihull, Sandwell and Birmingham City Councils with funding from the Department for Transport. Funding for the £88m first phase of the project includes contributions of £42 million from the WMCA investment fund and £35 million from the Department for Transport. Services are due to start running from May 2022.