Akhmed Yakoob

1. 25 people die every year on Birmingham’s roads, and many more are seriously injured. What will you do, if elected, to make it safer for us all to get about?

First and foremost, road safety is a critical issue that demands immediate attention. When elected, I will prioritise the implementation of comprehensive road safety measures. This includes increasing the number of pedestrian crossings, enhancing street lighting in high-risk areas, and introducing more speed cameras and traffic calming measures in residential zones. Additionally, I will work closely with local schools to develop safer routes for children walking to and from school and promote awareness campaigns that emphasise the importance of safe driving practices. I will also advocate to rid the inner city areas of Birmingham from the constant street racing and use of Nitrous Oxide whilst driving.

2. If elected, what will you do to make it easier and cheaper for Brummies to get around by bus or other forms of public transport?

Making public transport more accessible and affordable is crucial for improving mobility and reducing traffic congestion. I will advocate for subsidies to lower the cost of bus fares and push for the expansion of bus routes to underserved areas. Additionally, I will support the integration of different forms of public transport, such as buses, trams, and trains, to create a seamless and efficient network. Investing in modern, eco-friendly buses and ensuring punctual and reliable services will also be a top priority when elected.

3. More than 900 of us die every year because of air pollution. Do you support the Clean Air Zone in Birmingham, which aims to tackle this problem? What other solutions to this problem will you push for, if elected?

I do not support the current Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Birmingham city centre. Whilst well-intentioned, it has not effectively addressed the problem of air pollution and has instead led to unintended consequences. The CAZ reduces access to the city centre, which negatively impacts region-wide commerce, and it causes traffic backlogs within inner-city areas outside the zone, potentially worsening air quality there. This is a clear neglect of the inner city areas as well as their residents, whom I am a strong advocate for. Instead, I will push for a comprehensive city-wide strategy to reduce air pollution. This includes promoting electric vehicles with more charging stations, incentivising the use of public transport at a lower rate, and enhancing green infrastructure. By addressing the issue holistically, we can improve air quality across the entire city without harming local businesses and residents.

4. Pavement parking is something that blights the lives of many of Birmingham’s residents, particularly affecting the most vulnerable road users, such as children or those with disabilities. What would you do to tackle this issue?

Pavement parking is indeed a significant problem that needs addressing. I will work towards implementing stricter enforcement of parking regulations and increase fines for those who park irresponsibly on pavements. Additionally, I will advocate for the creation of more designated parking areas to reduce the need for pavement parking. Working with local communities to identify the worst-affected areas and developing targeted solutions will also be a priority. One of the worst cases for this that I have seen is Alum Rock Road, where the council have failed to provide the neighbouring 30,000 or so residents with an adequate car park. This has resulted in the issuing of 6,000 parking tickets worth £5 Million since April 2023. I plan to situate multi-story car parks within the locality of busy road within Birmingham.

5. Is it right that someone who drives dangerously and kills another person is only banned from driving for 5 years as an accepted standard? Will you support our call for lengthier bans for dangerous driving, and lifetime bans for those who kill as a result of reckless and selfish actions behind the wheel?

No, it is not right. The current penalties for dangerous driving that results in fatalities are insufficient and do not serve as a strong enough deterrent, hence why these crimes continue to take place. I will support calls for lengthier driving bans and advocate for lifetime bans in cases where reckless and selfish actions result in death. As a criminal defence lawyer, I believe that It is imperative that our legal system reflects the severity of such actions and ensures that justice is served.

6. In your legal and social media career, you have produced a lot of content advising people on how to avoid or mitigate sanctions imposed for breaking the rules of the road. Given this focus, how can we trust you when it comes to the vital issue of road safety?

My career in law and social media has always been about educating the public on their rights and responsibilities with regard to the legal system within England and Wales. Understanding the law and its implications is crucial for compliance. My goal has always been to promote safe and responsible behaviour on the roads. If elected, I will use my expertise to develop and advocate for policies that enhance road safety, ensuring that everyone understands the importance of following the rules for the greater good of our community.

7. Working as an independent, how will you interact with other parties to push for changes to how our city moves, and what will your key priorities be in this regard?

As an independent candidate, I am uniquely positioned to collaborate with all parties without the constraints of party politics. I will work constructively with other elected officials, as well as my constituents and community stakeholders to find common ground and build consensus on issues that matter to our community. My key priorities will include improving public transport, enhancing road safety, reducing air pollution, and creating a more pedestrian-friendly city. By focusing on these areas and actively engaging with residents, stakeholders, and policymakers, I believe we can make meaningful progress in making Birmingham a safer and more accessible city for everyone.

Kind regards, 

Mr. Akhmed Yakoob, 

Independent Candidate for the Ladywood Constituency in Birmingham.