Birmingham City Council (BCC) said feasibility studies are already underway to identify areas with the worst air pollution and how clean air zones will be implemented.

The council’s announcement comes hot on the heels of a national consultation into clean air zone roll-outs that was launched last week by Defra.

Birmingham is one of five cities – alongside Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton – required by the government to have a clean air zone in place by 2020 to ensure compliance with UK and EU air quality legislation.

BCC said it will be consulting all affected groups, including haulage companies, taxi drivers, bus operators and local businesses to find out how air quality measures will impact them.

Councillor Lisa Trickett, cabinet member for clean streets, recycling and environment, said: “Birmingham is a rapidly growing city, with an increasing number of people choosing to live and work here, so we need to take action now to bring down pollutants including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter which have the most impact on health.”

She added that BCC is already working to identify the worst-polluted areas, what is causing poor air quality and how it can be reduced over the next three years and beyond.

“This could include replacing older, polluting vehicles with modern, cleaner versions, discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering certain areas of the city, and encouraging people to change their travel behaviour and consider public transport or cycling instead of their cars.”

Figures show that 891 deaths a year in Birmingham alone can be attributed to man-made pollution, mostly through transport and the increased use of diesel vehicles. By contrast, there are fewer than 30 deaths resulting from collisions on Birmingham’s roads each year.