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Toxic air is stealing our children’s futures in the West Midlands

Jonathan, a parent of three from South Birmingham tells us why clean air is so important for his family and how you can help.

Toxic air at our door

There are so many busy roads where I live and we are just a stone’s throw from one of the most polluted roads in South Birmingham – Middleton Hall Road. The constant hum of the traffic and the stench of the traffic fumes have become the backdrop to my family’s life but why should we be forced to live this way?

Air pollution across the West Midlands is at levels far above what the World Health Organization recommends and is breaking the law in many places. This pollution is having a really negative effect on all our health, especially our babies and children whose growing lungs are more vulnerable to harm.

Polluted playgrounds

It’s not just my children whose lives are being put at risk. I was shocked to read in AUK-BLF’s recent report that over half of the schools in Birmingham are located in heavily polluted areas, this is leaving thousands of our children exposed to toxic air in the playground and on the school run. And it isn’t just a problem for schoolchildren in Birmingham but for kids across the West Midlands Combined Authority.





We need fewer cars and cleaner options

The answer is pretty simple: we need fewer cars on the road. We need much cleaner travel options for people to choose – electric vehicles, affordable public transport and safe routes for walking and cycling. It’s especially those short journeys where we can all make little changes and ditch our cars. This is what the future has to look like if we want our children to grow up healthily.

I’ve been campaigning in Bournville with our community to tackle air pollution and improve road safety so our children can walk or cycle to school. There is so much we could do by targeting action outside schools and hospitals to best protect children. That’s why I’ve been so impressed with low traffic neighbourhoods and school streets, they are such cheap and effective ways to reduce volumes of traffic and prevent rat running on problematic roads. We need politicians to back these bold and ambitious policies to get polluting cars off the road.

Give your vote to a Mayor for clean air

I hope for a future where my children can grow up happy and healthy; where they can play on the streets outside our house and we don’t have to fear for their lives.

On May 6th we will all have the chance in the West Midlands to vote for politicians who are serious about tackling this public health problem.

Use your voice for change and email the candidates using our simple tool


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30 March 2021

Last medically reviewed: March 2021. Due for review: March 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.