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City ring road to become 'green way' in new plans

A 20-year plan to reform Birmingham's transport network would see the city's ring road transformed into a "green way," the council leader has said.

Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, Councillor Ian Ward said the proposals were the "most ambitious plan for the city in a century".

Due to be published on Tuesday, the plans also include a large city-centre park, cycle paths and walkways.

Mr Ward said the plan was not a "war on motorists" but aimed to make Birmingham "more liveable and accessible".

Speaking about the ring road which circles the city centre, councillor Ward said: "It’s currently an urban motorway which constrains growth and disconnects our communities.

"Because in the future we’ll have less reliance on the car, that creates the opportunity to turn some of that ring road into green space in the future."

Image caption, The plans also include a large new city centre park

He said that Birmingham was attracting more investment than ever and that as growth expands into deprived areas beyond the ring road, it was important "that the wealth that is created as a result is shared with those communities".

Birmingham's population is forecasted to grow by more than 150,000 over the next decade, he said, and "we’ll simply gridlock the city if we continue to all be moving around in cars". Our Future City: Central Birmingham Framework 2040 will see the city double its cycle paths to 200km and increase its green spaces to a level comparable with Vienna.

Image caption, The plan aims to reduce car dependency by improving public transport and active travel

Councillor Ward said the local authority would work closely with developers and investors to fund its ambitious plan. "As we grow the city we’ll be looking to attract in that investment that will allow us to not only increase our density and create more homes and more jobs but also to increase the amount of green space," he said. The full plans are due to be released on Tuesday and councillor Ward said he was optimistic as to how they would be recieved after a positive consultation process.


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