Over the summer, BFOE launched its Air Pollution Campaign and we’ve been busy.

Every year an estimated 40,000 people in the UK die prematurely due to air pollution. For Birmingham, the annual figure is around 891. Air pollution in Birmingham is having a long term impact on our health.

Birmingham City Council has to create a Clean Air Zone by 2020. We want this to happen and need it to be as large, effective, clean and sustainable as possible to have the greatest possible impact.

So far we’ve:

  • Been citizen scientists, putting up air testing in key locations in Birmingham to measure nitrogen dioxide levels. The EU legal mean annual limit is 40µg/m3 . Our snapshot results cover a 2 week period. Some of the locations we tested came back way above this legal limit. For example the result from Bullring Stairway, B5 4BP was 59.98µg/m3 – 50% over the legal limit!

  • Responded to Birmingham City Council’s consultations on air quality and Clean Air Zone proposals and also to Transport for West Midlands’ Movement for Growth Development Plan consultation, which focused on potential changes to the region’s transport system, including public transport.

  • Reached out to local primary schools, encouraging them to sign up for Friends of the Earth’s Clean Air Schools Pack.

  • For National Clean Air Day on 15th June we had campaign stalls at Colmore Row and at an Active Streets event on Wheelers Lane.

  • To mark Friends of the Earth’s Clean Air Week of Action (24th June until 2nd July) we had campaign stalls at Billesley Lane Allotments, Moseley Street Festival and CocoMad. We also had a special Monday night meeting where we learned more about air pollution, including how to protect ourselves and our families and what we can do to demand change.

Moving forward, we hope to meet with councillors in the Autumn to continue putting pressure on Birmingham City Council to make sure the Clean Air Zone is as large, effective, clean and sustainable as possible.

How to get involved:

We are looking to grow the campaign and are always happy to welcome new members. If you would like to learn more about our campaigns, please feel free to contact us (info@birminghamfoe.org.uk) or pop along to weekly meetings.