Green Alliance analysis aims to quantify benefits of reclaiming five cent of the city’s car parking spots for green space

Planting trees in underused parking bays in Birmingham could generate up to £287m in public health and societal benefits by 2050, fresh analysis today from Green Alliance has found.

The think tank has calculated there are 10,000 underused car parking spaces in the city which could become new green spaces, which would in trun deliver hundreds of millions of pounds of benefits by cutting carbon emissions, delivering better air quality, preventing flooding and enhance the street environment.

Green Alliance said that reclaiming parking spaces in the city for green space was a “realistic prospect”, noting that a transport plan published in October by the city council stated that land occupied by car parking would be “put to more productive use” if it had development potential.

“Cars take up too much space in our cities,” said Zoe Avison, policy analyst at Green Alliance. “The balance needs to be redressed. This evidence shows there is economic value in reclaiming just a small percentage of parking spots for green spaces and trees. It would help to cut carbon emissions and really improve the air we breathe, making cities like Birmingham much more pleasant places to live and work.” 

Ten thousand car parking bays amounts to roughly five per cent of all of Birmingham’s car parking spots, according to Green Alliance.

Polling commissioned by the think tank in September revealed that 72 per cent of Birmingham residents blamed too many cars on the roads for the city’s poor air quality, which breaches World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

Planting more trees and developing more green spaces were selected by those surveyed as the most popular measures to improve air quality.

In June, Birmingham introduced a clean air zone (CAZ) in a bid to clean up high levels of air pollution, becoming the second city after London to target passenger vehicles in its air pollution charging scheme.

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