Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward has joined forces with 16 other mayors and city leaders to call on the Government to take tougher action against air pollution.
He signed a joint letter to Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to prioritise action on dirty air and provide funding to tackle a “growing air pollution public health crisis”.
The letter calls for new legislation giving councils more powers to regulate taxi and private hire services.
And it calls for a “national vehicle renewal scheme” to help drivers and small businesses, including taxi operators, replace older vehicles with new, low-pollution cars and vans.
It follows warnings that air pollution may be causing the premature deaths of more than 1,000 people in the West Midlands each year.
Vehicles aren’t the only culprit, with wood-fire stoves also blamed for releasing pollution into the atmosphere.
The letter states: “Our country’s polluted air is shortening lives, damaging our children’s lungs, and severely impacting on the NHS as well as costing the economy inworking days lost
“Crucially, these consequences do not fall equally across our society but disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable.”
Those signing it alongside Coun Ward include the mayors of London, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region, as well as the leaders of Newcastle and Leeds city councils.
It’s the result of the first-ever National Clean Air Summit in late June, which saw many of the leaders meet together to discuss how they can solve Britain’s air pollution issues.
An analysis by BirminghamLive of data available from Public Health England has found that the 507 adults deaths in Birmingham alone in 2016 may have been attributable to particulate air pollution - also known as PM2.5.
PM2.5 refers to tiny particles that float in the air and can cause health problems including heart disease, strokes and lung cancer.
Birmingham City Council has conducted a consultation on plans for a controversial clean air zone, which will see high polluting cars and vehicles charged to enter Birmingham city centre from 2020.
The aim is to discourage motorists driving the most polluting cars and cut the illegally high levels of lethal Nitrogen Dioxide and other pollutants in the city centre.
Conservative councillors oppose the plan as does Labour MP Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr), who described the consultation as a “sham”.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “In Birmingham, we have just finished consulting on proposals for a Clean Air Zone which we will need to implement by the beginning of 2020.
"We now need Government to work with and support us in delivering the radical changes required to clean up our air, including investment in cleaner public transport, updated national air quality legislation and a scrappage scheme to enable individuals and businesses with older polluting vehicles to switch to greener alternatives.”