Conservatives were the only party in Birmingham to announce their Clean Air Plan BEFORE May’s Local Elections. That in itself should have told people that Labour had a nasty surprise up its sleeve.
Conservatives suggested new green infrastructure such as green living walls (pictured below), city benches, more use of canals, urban freight consolidations sites etc.
Labour have shunned all this and gone for the unimaginative solution of taxing some private vehicles’ drivers simply for wanting to go to work, shopping, or to the theatre and other leisure attractions in the city centre.
If this tax goes ahead, it will have lots of serious consequences. City centre businesses will surely take a hitting when they can least afford it. (House of Fraser is already going.) And wards such as Edgbaston which are likely to be just outside the charging zone will be turned into a giant car parks (like Lee Crescent above) even worse than they are already – as people get to the edge of the charging zone, dump their cars, and get on a bus or train to avoid paying the charge.
And of course – typical Labour (and this is one reason why I personally despise the Labour Party so much) – amongst motorists, it is poorer people who will be hit most – those who cannot afford to update their car to a greener cleaner model. Rich motorists with newer, greener cars will be all right, they won’t be charged (at the moment). But if these plans go ahead, poorer people who can’t afford to upgrade will be charged so much every time they enter the zone, they will effectively be barred from going to the city centre or driving through it. How much will it cost? For people whose cars fall into the category charged, it will potentially cost £2,800 just to go to work each day in the city centre. Lots of people wouldn’t be able to afford that. Labour – for the few, not the many.