Birmingham citizens call for a greener city in timely new survey

  • City’s residents reveal the environmental issues that matter most to them.
  • Citizens call for Birmingham City Council and businesses to do more to make the city a greener and healthier place to live.
  • Coalition of environmental organisations meet today with councillors, businesses and change makers to discuss real change in the city using citizens’ responses as a starting point.

Over the last six months a coalition of environmental organisations from across Birmingham have consulted the city’s residents on the local environmental issues that matter most to them in The Big Green Conversation.

On Friday 15 November 2019, Greener Birmingham, councillors (including Leader Cllr. Ian Ward), businesses and change makers from across the city will gathered at Impact Hub Birmingham for the launch of the Birmingham People’s Manifesto for the Environment. Using the document, the voice of the city as a starting point, the event aims to culminate in a number of positive actions for Birmingham City Council, businesses and Greener Birmingham to take forward to make the city a greener and healthier place to live.

Asked how important it is for Birmingham City Council to focus on certain issues over the next five years:

  • 88% of respondents felt it important or very important that the environment should be prioritised,
  • 86% believe it is important or very important to give pedestrians and cyclists city centre priority,
  • 87% believe it is important or very important to ban single use plastic in Birmingham,
  • 90% felt it was important or very important introduce a required building code for all new developments with high standards in biodiversity and sustainability,
  • 91% felt it is important or very important to plan for nature by making the majority of the city green and connected through green and blue infrastructure (rivers, trees, canals, green roofs etc.).

Comments from respondents included:

“Make public transport more accessible (more affordable) to encourage people to not use their cars.”

“More areas for wildflowers and native plants, in parks and on verges. Plan with bees and other wildlife in mind.”

“Offer better recycling – current options are woefully behind other areas of the country.”

“Improve cycling infrastructure, resurface current paths and create new ones that connect to one another. Improve air quality by tackling car use.”

Citizens were also asked what they felt business can do to help make the city greener and healthier:

  • 75% of respondents felt business should support Birmingham City Council to adopt policies that protect and improve the environment,
  • 73% felt single-use plastic should be removed from the supply chain,
  • 71% felt business should manage their land to benefit nature.

Travel and transport were also popular themes with respondents suggesting businesses need to support employees to make positive change around commuting:

“A commitment to promoting active travel for employees, and to flexible working to reduce the number of commuting journeys made”

“Showers and bike storage facilities and incentives for cycling/walking/running to work”

“Encouraging staff to car share or cycle or walk to work with financial incentives.”

The Big Green Conversation consultation has been part of the UK Government’s Year of Green Action, its ambitious 25 year Environment Plan and comes as Birmingham City Council declared a Climate Emergency in June and set up a Climate task force in October 2019.

Michael Addison, Chair of Greener Birmingham and Director of ecobirmingham, said:

“Birmingham is aiming to lead the way by becoming carbon neutral by 2030. This will mean radical changes to the way we all live, get around and run our businesses. Communities have to be listened to so we ensure a Just Transition for all. If you think about how little has really changed in the last 10 years it makes you realise the scale and pace of change needed over the next 10 years is immense. We all need to act now. The problem and solutions belong to all of us, and Greener Birmingham will be part of making the changes happen for communities.”

Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr Ian Ward said:

“The time for action is now and we owe it to future generations of Birmingham citizens to work together to shape the city. That’s why the Big Green Conversation is so important. We need to keep talking, listening and working together for a greener, more sustainable Birmingham.”

The full People’s Manifesto can be read here

Follow the day on social media via: @greenerbrum and #greenerbrum