Comparing Party Manifestos ahead of the 5th May Local Elections

There is less than a week to go until our second all-out elections for Birmingham City Council. Lots has changed since 2018's election - the pandemic, millions of pounds in active travel spend and a rather large step change in national active travel policy.

Now the Parties have all finally published their manifestos, check out the policy of whoever you plan on voting for this election. If you'd like to see your local candidates' thoughts on active travel, take a look at our project with Sustrans and Better Street for Birmingham.


Transport is really complicated in the West Midlands. It’s not clear in some manifestos which pledges are already funded or new money. For example, many of the manifestos mention the Camp Hill railway line yet WMCA released an article just this week to say that a contractor has been selected and construction starts later this year.

Recently the region was awarded money as part of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement and some of the funded schemes are included in the manifestos, yet plenty are not. Birmingham is also in receipt of Active Travel Fund money which is an annual award of funding for cycling and walking schemes. For each of these funding streams, money is committed to deliver specific schemes. If a scheme is changed or cancelled, the government can retract the money back.

We also have a regional transport policy set by Transport for West Midlands. Recently, the West Midlands Local Transport Plan was under consultation and is largely a radical pathway to reducing the need to travel. In 2021, Birmingham City Council adopted a 10-year Birmingham Transport Plan. In 2020, Birmingham City Council adopted a Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plan.


The Green Party unfortunately chose not to publish a local manifesto for this election. This is a shame as it’s really hard to compare to tangible pledges from the other parties! They referred me to their national policy website instead. These are principles that councillors would work towards implementing, however not all of the policy would be achievable as a single local authority.

If you are a political party and want to request a change, get in touch using the contact form.

Comparison Table

Active Travel and Public Transport

Topic Conservative Green Party Labour Lib Dems
Cycle lanes and infrastructure
  • Revolutionise funding to build cycle infrastructure, providing a credible alternative to motor vehicles within a decade
  • Avoiding sharing with pedestrians wherever possible
  • Increased cycle parking and workplace changing facilities
  • Build 2 new cycle superhighways
  • Dudley Road cycling and walking improvements
  • Safe cycling and walking measures part of all residential and infrastructure schemes
Access to active travel schemes
  • Cycle training for children and adults
  • Road safety training
  • Supplying more free bikes to children
  • Supporting 50 community cycling hubs
  • Shared schemes like eScooters, Brompton Hire, Cycle Hire and e-cargo bikes
Bus lanes and priority measures
  • Prioritise buses over all other motorised traffic
  • Build more bus priority measures
  • Allow electric and hybrid private hire vehicles to use bus lanes
  • Install air filters on bus stops
  • Plant bee-friendly flowers on top of bus stops
  • Bring buses into public ownership
  • Improve public transport ticket offering
  • All buses changed to low-emission vehicles
  • Make buses green, affordable and reliable
  • Introduce new cross-city bus routes
  • Make the 11 and 8 routes the greenest in the city
  • Introduce Sprint buses along the A34 and A45
  • National test bed for hydrogen buses
  • Introduce a ‘Brummie ticket’ for low-cost travel in Birmingham (similar to other parts of the West Midlands)
  • Open the Camp Hill line
  • New stations at The Fort, Castle Vale, Walmley, Sutton Park and Streetly
  • Restore platform 4 at Snow Hill station
  • Restore island platforms at Kings Norton and Northfield
  • Reintroduce passenger services to freight lines and disused lines
  • Bring trains into public ownership
  • Improve public transport ticket offering
  • Open the Camp Hill line
  • New stations at The Fort and Castle Vale
  • Support Midlands Rail Hub - building Camp Hill chords, redeveloping Moor St, Snow Hill and Kings Norton stations
  • Open the Camp Hill line on time
Park and ride
  • Create and expand sites
  • Charge for parking
  • Reduce need for park and rides
  • Only build new park and rides on brownfield sites
  • Extend park and ride provision
  • Develop significantly more sites

Roads, Traffic and Vehicles

Topic Conservative Green Party Labour Lib Dems
Clean Air Zone
  • Remove charges for private vehicles (becomes a Class C clean air zone)
  • Supports the principle of the polluter paying
  • Repurpose revenues to go towards local clean air, safety zones around schools and public transport
  • Rename charge to ‘Schools Safety Contribution’
  • Demand an account functionality from government
  • Charge will be different depending on vehicle carbon emissions, value and size
  • Look to redraw the boundary
Car parking
  • Install more off-street parking
  • Free parking in all council-owned car parks near high streets
  • Build a multi storey car park at the QE
  • Steadily reduce car parking requirements
  • New developments which generate journeys need to tie into sustainable transport options
  • Seek car free development wherever possible
  • Move city centre car parks outside the middle ring road and provide a shuttle
Electric vehicle (EV) charging
  • Build free parking with rapid charging points for electric vehicles in local centres e.g. Harborne, Erdington and QE Hospital
  • Install sufficient charging points, avoiding footway and bike lane obstruction
  • Build a network of EV chargers, focusing on residential areas
  • Work on solutions for charging EVs where there is no off-street charging available
  • Install EV charging in roadside lamp posts, leasing the space to residents without off-road parking
  • All multi storey car parks must have at least one floor of high-speed EV charging points
Traffic reduction measures (road closures, traffic restrictions and behaviour change)
  • Remove all LTNs
  • Keep A38 tunnels open
  • Last mile deliveries for the city centre, goods dropped to point outside the city centre and are delivered using cleaner, smaller vehicles
  • Reduce the number of car journeys by reducing the need to travel and improving sustainable alternatives
  • Reprioritising modes of transport so walking and disabled access, cycling, public transport, light goods vehicles, taxis and low-powered motorcycles come above private cars and high-powered motorcycles
  • Introduce a paid scrappage scheme to move drivers to public transport and active travel
  • Introduce road charging to specifically reduce traffic in areas where most harmful
  • Introduce a non-residential parking levy for off-street parking
  • Reallocate road space from cars, residents involved with redesigning their street - ‘home zones’
  • 20mph limit through built-up areas, maximum speed limit of 55mph
  • No delivery vehicles in residential areas at night
  • No deliveries during rush hours
  • All residents will be within 30 minutes of the city centre when taking public transport
  • 20mph speed limit on residential roads and local centres
  • Off-peak deliveries in local centres
  • Investigate workplace parking levy with funds reinvested into public transport
  • Car sharing and hire schemes
  • Monitor air quality with a sensor at every school
  • Keep flyovers open
  • Keep A38 tunnels open
  • In Kings Heath and Brandwood ward, candidates are standing on a platform which pledges to remove the LTN
Road safety and antisocial driver behaviour
  • Noise monitoring and ANPR for loud vehicles
  • More average speed cameras
  • More cameras and speed measurement
  • Marked parking bays
  • No pavement parking
  • Introduction of controlled parking zones with charges for permits
  • Trebling number of average speed cameras
  • £1m to stop anti-social pavement parking, dangerous speeding and protect green verges
  • Measures to prevent pavement parking
  • Quadrupling average speed cameras
  • High-tech enforcement cameras
  • Investigate mobile enforcement cameras for poor behaviour hotspots
  • Anti-idling campaigns at busy junctions, installing countdown signs
Road maintenance
  • Repair and resurface roads
  • Charge for utility works which occupy roads, use this money to fix potholes
  • Repair potholes and poor pavements
  • Introduce a street works permit scheme
Travelling to school
  • Safe routes to school given the highest priority so that most children are able to walk or cycle to school
  • Walking buses for smaller children
  • Subsidise public transport for pupils who do not live within a short distance of their school
  • Children and parents involved in deciding what transport provision a school needs
  • Introduce more car-free school streets
  • £5m per year for school exclusion and safety zones, for example, permit schemes and red routes to prevent drop-offs, schools are allocated permits for special requirements or difficulties
  • Introduce a walking bus conductor at every school
  • Introduce pedal buses where a school has enough interest

Street Scene and Access to Nature

Topic Conservative Green Party Labour Lib Dems
Street scene
  • Create tree-lined streets with permission of local communities
  • Improve street and alleyway lighting
  • Reduce street lighting dominance by making the direction more accurate
  • Use less energy intensive methods of street lighting
  • Improve street lighting
  • £1.6m to improve walking and safety in parts of the city centre
  • Pedestrianise Colmore Row
  • Create a strategy to manage kerbside space
  • £1m for community initiatives to improve biodiversity in wards
  • Brownfield developments expected to create places for children to play
Green spaces
  • Put all parks into a trust
  • Every house should be within 500 metres of a green space
  • Create 400 more green spaces and parks
  • Create a new park in the city centre
  • Target the six most environmentally deprived wards to improve access to nature
  • Plant more trees
  • Plant one tree for every birth registered in the city
  • Increase tree cover
  • Plant more trees, aiming for 25% tree cover
  • Plant more trees