Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street today (Wednesday July 26) welcomed the publication of a Government plan to tackle traffic pollution.
A £255 million fund has been set up to help local authorities come up with ways to improve air quality, ranging from better public transport to changing road layouts.
The UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentration also set out plans to end the sale of all conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Government plan will aim to tackle traffic pollution
The Mayor, who has specific powers for transport and chairs the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), said: “I acknowledged in my Renewal Plan how important this issue is and I was clear in the election campaign that we have to act decisively.
“Every year there are 1,500 premature deaths in the West Midlands caused by air pollution. This is a huge health issue for people in the region, increasing the risk of lung disease and heart disease.
“I was also clear that we needed Government direction and that is why I welcome the Air Quality Plan.
“We will now look in more detail at the opportunities the Air Quality Plan presents and work with local authorities in the West Midlands to decide how we should act. This will have to include plans for the specific routes identified by the Secretary of State.
“Today’s announcement makes it even more important that across the West Midlands we continue to invest in rail, Metro, buses and cycling to give a clean, reliable alternative to cars.
“However, in the longer term, this challenge presents our region with a unique opportunity.
“The emergence of the West Midlands as the UK’s leader for the development and manufacture of autonomous and electric vehicles means we are well placed to capitalise on this market shift and long before 2040.
“We are determined to win the investment necessary to make a success of this opportunity.”
See the government's Air Quality Plan here.