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Green spaces and 120 miles of cycling and walking routes pledged in "most ambitious plan in a century"... but Mail claims "now Birmingham wages war on motorists"

Council leader Ian Ward said the 20-year plan would bring the city's cycling infrastructure on par with Copenhagen and see Birmingham "become as green as Vienna"...

On Friday, Birmingham City Council unveiled its plan to make the city a "leading international location", with active travel networks "on the same level" as Copenhagen and spaces "as green as Vienna".

The plan, today described as "probably the most ambitious plan in a century for the city" by council leader Ian Ward on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, will see 200km (124 miles) of active travel routes built and parts of Birmingham's ring road turned into parks.

Cllr Ward was also quick to insist it is not "a war on motorists", something the MailOnline was keen to suggest in its coverage of the news, publishing a story titled: 'Now Birmingham wages war on motorists as Labour-run council plans to turn ring road into a "park that circles the city" and build 124 miles of walking and cycling routes in bid to mimic the "cycle-friendliness" of Copenhagen'.

MailOnline headline

In a quite timely addition to the website yesterday, contributor Simon MacMichael penned the second of his 'The War on the Motorist' features, deconstructing certain sections of the media's penchant for using the phrase.

The War On The Motorist May 2023

The route map for the plans will be revealed tomorrow, with the Labour-run council hoping it can double green space in a bid to "tackle the climate emergency on the city's route to net zero carbon emissions".

"The same level for cycle friendliness as Copenhagen"

"The plan we are going to be launching tomorrow is a route map to a greener Birmingham, creating more jobs, better transport options and having higher quality, more energy efficient new homes," Cllr Ward said.

"We are already a city on the up and we're looking to use the investments coming in to double the amount of green space in the city, making us as green as Vienna, and to double active travel routes to some 200km which will put us at the same level for cycle friendliness as Copenhagen.

"This is probably the most ambitious plan in a century for the city and it's going to map out how we'll become carbon zero and how we will green our city in the future. We're also working to create a new park in Birmingham, right in the heart of the city centre, creating a green space – in order to ensure the city is more liveable."

Stating that the future city will be less reliant on the ring road, he added that it will be "a very different concept in the future" and said there is an "opportunity to turn some of that ring road into green space".

"This is a 20-year plan – so we'll be working with investors and developers and as we grow the city we'll be looking to attract in that investment that will allow us to not only increase identity and create more homes and more jobs but also to increase the amount of green space," he said.

"The plan has been very well received when we've consulted on it and we expect it to be very well received when we launch it tomorrow."

The council estimates the work has potential to create 74,000 new jobs as well as 35,000 new homes, "creating vibrant new neighbourhoods" and "doubling in population density [...] but not at the expense of green open space".

"There's a real buzz about Birmingham at the moment, a growing city of enormous potential and – as we showed to great effect last summer when hosting the Commonwealth Games – we're ready to fulfil that potential," Cllr Ward continued.

"Now this framework, the most important strategy for Birmingham this century, is set to supercharge our quest to be a leading international city."

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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