‘Fighting For Air’ BBC2 documentary broadcast 10 January 2018

Fighting For Air, an air pollution documentary presented by Dr Xand van Tulleken, will be shown on BBC2 on Wednesday 10 January 2018 at 9pm.

Recorded with the help of local enthusiasts and volunteers in December 2017 for Kings Heath Clean Air Day, the programme investigates:

  • how communities and experts in pollution science can work together to reduce air pollution on the High Street on a single day
  • the effect of air pollution on the human body after being exposed to a typical city street

Public meeting for BBC2 air pollution documentary

Amazing Productions, a production company from London, are making a documentary for BBC2 about air pollution in the UK. Part of their enquiry focuses on Kings Heath, and considers what can be done to reduce traffic and emissions causing air pollution on the High Street.

A public meeting to gather views from residents and business owners on how to tackle air quality and traffic on Kings Heath High Street takes place on:

Tuesday, 24 October 2017
6pm to 8.30pm
All Saints Centre, 2 Vicarage Road, Kings Heath, B14 7RA

The meeting will be filmed.

BBC2 documentary flyer

New transport proposals

A new Draft 2026 Delivery Plan for Transport across the west midlands has been put out for consultation. The plan has been prepared by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and is described as setting out ‘the schemes which will deliver a large amount of the Combined Authority’s long term transport strategy Movement for Growth’.

From Kings Heath residents’ point of view, one of the surprising aspects of the report is that Kings Heath is mentioned very few times. The proposed new railway station at Kings Heath is included (page 6) while the number 50 bus route is identified as a corridor which should be studied to ‘identify potential improvements’ (page 13).

However, the fact that Kings Heath is rarely mentioned in the document offers a possible benefit. One of the key factors appears to be that a number of transport ‘corridors’ are being proposed, none of which include the A435 (Alcester Road South and High Street, Kings Heath).

The Kings Heath Residents’ Forum (KHRF) has seized on this as evidence that the A435 should be downgraded and categorised as unsuitable for heavy through traffic. This would provide an opportunity to ban HGVs from Kings Heath unless they are making deliveries. Among the benefits of such a policy would be an improvement in traffic safety and a reduction in air pollution.

The KHRF will monitor the response of TfWM to submissions and, if necessary, make further representations.

For more information:

Main Transport for West Midlands website

Consultation draft document

Proposed transport corridors

Additional information

ASDA Kings Heath delivery times trial

Kings Heath High Street has been identified as one of the most polluted roads in Birmingham. That and the dangerous nature of the road has led Birmingham City Council (BCC) to search for ways to improve matters for residents.

The council is teaming up with ASDA for a trial of new delivery arrangements. During the trial, deliveries to the ASDA store in Kings Heath will be re-scheduled to take place outside peak traffic times. This will reduce the number of lorries heading along the High Street.

The store’s current delivery hours are 07:30 to 18:00 Monday to Saturday, and 09:00 to 16:00 on Sundays, bank holidays and public holidays.

The proposed changes are 06:00 to 19:00 Monday to Saturday, and 08:00 to 18:00 on Sundays and bank holidays.

BCC and ASDA want to know what local people think of the idea. Representatives of both will be at the store on:

  • Thursday, 24 November 2016 between 3pm and 7pm.
  • Friday, 25 November 2016 between 12 noon and 7pm. Local councillors should be there from 5.30pm on Friday.

Anybody with an interest in this project can go to the store to discuss it at these times. No appointment is necessary.

More information can be obtained from:

  • Kevin Cummins, Senior Transportation Officer at Birmingham City Council (Kevin.Cummins@birmingham.gov.uk)
  • Andrew Lester, who is facilitating the sessions (alester@hardhat.co.uk)

Objections to Lidl planning application

The Forum has lodged an objection to a planning application announced by Lidl. The multinational supermarket giant wanted to replace the current Silver Street store with a new, and much bigger building. Lidl is a low-cost supermarket, so it is important to many Kings Heath residents but the plans raised serious concerns.

One of the most important was concern about increase in heavy goods traffic. The company denied that there would be any increase in the number of juggernauts turning into Silver Street. However, it is difficult to see how such a claim could be made. The new store shown on the plans would have been bigger than the existing one so it would need more stock. It was clearly designed to attract more shoppers. That would have meant more sales and therefore there would have to be more deliveries.

The only way to cut the number of lorries arriving would have been to use even bigger vehicles.

This, in turn, would have made congestion in Kings Heath even worse. In addition, these extra lorries would add to air pollution which has already made the High Street the fourth most polluted street in Birmingham. (Birmingham’s most polluted roads)

The Forum also raised concern about parking. Lidl has already bought the nearby car park from Birmingham City Council. The company has attracted criticism recently for the way it tries to enforce parking fines. In some places it is alleged to have provided 10-minute free parking. However, anybody overstaying their time is hit with a £90 fine. There are already proposals to take parking off the High Street. Losing this 102-space public car park will be a major blow for shoppers in Kings Heath.

The proposed building would be considerably higher than the existing store. That would be bound to affect local residents as would the increased traffic and other matters, such as things bigger, more powerful air conditioning units.

Overall the Kings Heath Residents’ Forum said that the proposal by Lidl could only be damaging to Kings Heath residents. That is why the Residents’ Forum lodged a formal objection to the planning application.

The latest development in this story is that Lidl has recently withdrawn the original planning application. However, it is preparing a new scheme. Councillor Claire Spencer has said that she would like the scheme to be discussed with residents. The period for lodging objections to the  original proposal has ended but members of the Residents’ Forum will be watching developments closely  and will assess the new proposals before deciding what to do next.