Demand better for Birmingham

Six to fix

It takes time to find out what matters to the people of Birmingham. Lib Dem councillors and activists do this by knocking on doors and listening at public meetings to find the local issues that matter. Based on this research, our priorities are:

1.Bring back special street collections and free home bulky waste collections, significantly improve failing waste collections, street cleaning and recycling services.

2. Radical devolution of power and resources to local communities to tackle fly tipping, road safety, pollution, and other serious problems.

3. Roll out average speed cameras on main highways, quadrupling in four years, to ensure dangerous and reckless drivers are brought to book.

4. Funding for four hundred “walking bus conductors” to revolutionise school journeys, providing pupils safe and healthy walking routes to and from school.

5. Cut energy costs with a massive drive to harness alternative energy, and a huge program of effective insulation in people’s homes.

6. Tackle Labour’s waste on the Council, and make it more responsive to the people, with genuine, meaningful consultation with residents about their communities

Tackling the climate emergency

To deliver a zero carbon Council by 2030 and significant reductions in carbon emissions across the city we need:
• A wholesale shift to non-carbon fuelled vehicles, primarily electric vehicles.
• A significant shift to zero carbon housing combined with extensive action to access alternative and renewable fuel sources. 
• A hugely improved public transport offer 
• A city with more trees and biodiversity and more pleasant neighbourhoods 
• An end to the incineration of waste and the use of landfill.

A Cleaner and greener city

Birmingham City Council has failed in its responsibility to prevent fly tipping and collect waste. It has failed over many years to achieve success in recycling. in 2022, BCC was 330th out of 333 for recycling performance. 

These are our priorities:
• The restoration of at least one free bulky collection per household per year. In the first year the priority would be the disabled and the very elderly.
• The restoration of a programme of special street collections, which for many years allowed residents to put large amounts of rubbish on the verge on a specified day, once every three years.
• A requirement that items collected as bulky waste, e.g., furniture, are offered for reuse if at all possible and that all collections are sorted thoroughly for recyclables. Co-location of reuse charities with household recycling centres will be encouraged.
• Amendments to targets which disincentivise council departments to take lawbreakers to court. A target of 100% success in prosecutions means that very few are brought. People who fly tip or breach other areas of council regulation, such as planning or licensing, must know that they risk facing the justice of the courts. We will set a target for the number of prosecutions to be brought as a percentage of complaints.

A safer city

The closure of police stations in communities without providing neighbourhood teams with alternative bases has contributed to their disappearance from community life and visibility on the streets. Simply adding more officers without a plan to ensure they are rooted in their communities will be ineffective, leading to officers spending too much time stuck in traffic travelling from central bases to communities.

We will therefore work proactively with the police to identify local premises, such ascommunity centres, which can be used as secure local bases for police teams. We will also ensure the council uses its powers in full to tackle antisocial behaviour and causes of community tension by setting targets to bring prosecutions (in contrast with the current practice which deters prosecutions.

Stronger communities - power to the people

We believe that strong communities are built by workiing side by side with residents. Decisions are better taken when local factors are considered. Birmingham is a vast city and a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. 

Our priorities are:

  • Community and neighbourhood councils
  • A system of area committees, each comprising a minimum of five councillors 
  • Proper neighbourhood planning
  • Petitions that generate action

A city that works - homes and jobs

We have supported the city’s programme of investment in municipal housing, whilst being concerned at how few new social homes it has delivered.

It is pointless declaring a climate emergency and then building homes that are not close to zero carbon, as has happened in Birmingham. Zero carbon homes will primarily use heat pumps and solar heating and will be designed to ensure good retention of heat and good air conditioning in hot weather. We will expect developers to aim for “passivhaus” standard e.g., truly zero carbon.

We will also work with schools and colleges to ensure a focus on those young people in danger of not achieving qualifications and not participating in the workforce. Liberal Democrats are great believers in lifelong learning; we will encourage the development of “skills wallets,”, to fund retraining or upskilling.

 

Better transport and road safety - a key priority

low carbon economy requires good public transport and a switch to low carbon vehicles. Our policies will support this whilst respecting the aspiration that individuals have for freedom of movement in their lives and control over their personal transport.

We owuld focus on:

  • Reforming the Clean Air Zone (CAZ)
  • Introduce school safety zomes with walking bus conductors for every school 
  • Provide dedicated roadside spaces and high speed charging points for electric vehicles
  • Roll out average speed cameras
  • Introducing a range of measures to improve, and improve use of, public transport