Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet member for Transport and the Environment, writes:

Birmingham Labour Council is committed to delivering the Clean Air Zone for our city. In Birmingham, someone dies every seven hours as a result of our air pollution. Bringing in the Clean Air Zone is a crucial first step in eradicating this poison from our air.

However, the impact of COVID-19 on Birmingham makes it impossible to bring in the Clean Air Zone during this summer as planned. Local businesses are already stretched trying to support their workers. Ordinary people who would also be affected by the Clean Air Zone are ensuring they and their families stay safe, rather than apply for the financial help available for them to deal with the effects of the Clean Air Zone.

Therefore, two weeks ago I wrote to the government to ask for a delay to the implementation of the Clean Air Zone in Birmingham. My request has been accepted, and we will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 before agreeing a new launch date for the Clean Air Zone with the government.

Make no mistake: my aim is still to improve Birmingham’s air quality. But we must do this in a way that does not put too much strain on businesses and the poorest in our city. I welcome the government’s decision and Birmingham Labour Council will now do our utmost to successfully deliver the Clean Air Zone once the situation in Birmingham has returned to normal.

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