On the 1st June 2021, Birmingham (UK) introduced a ‘Clean Air Zone’. The plan is to charge vehicles that emit too many greenhouse gases a fee for every day that they enter the city centre. The supposed motivation for this is to lower emissions and improve air quality, thus improving the quality of life of people who live in Birmingham. As with any capitalist state initiative, however, we have to look beneath the surface, and in this case there is a link to the Smart City agenda.
Birmingham Clean Air Zone
The Birmingham Clean Air Zone – which came into force on the 1st June – will charge any non-compliant household vehicle that enters into the zone or drives within the zone £8 per day. Non-compliant vehicles are those that are (considered to be) non-fuel efficient and so emit too much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. There are various exemptions to these rules, but for our purposes they are not important.
The main aspect which I will focus upon in this article is the mechanism by which the Clean Air Zone will be enforced. According to the BrumBreathes website, the official website for the changes:
Vehicles that do not meet the emission standards for the zone will be detected by an ANPR camera (automatic number plate recognition).
Number plates that are non-compliant with the low emissions zone will be flagged for a fine.
What precisely is ANPR? The RAC has an article discussing the basics of the technology.
ANPR technology converts an image of a number plate into machine-encoded text, this is called optical character recognition.
The technology can be used across CCTV, traffic enforcement cameras and ANPR-specific cameras. Infrared illumination can help cameras to capture a clearer image.
ANPR cameras are used to monitor speeding vehicles and handing out fines based on that basis. The police also use them to monitor stolen vehicles.
A Step Towards Smart Cities
Smart Cities – cities with endless sensors and monitoring managed by AI – are a dream of the global elite. Institutions such as the World Economic Forum are promoting the smart city concept through the creation of a ‘Pioneer Cities’ program. While smart cities are promoted as the solution to humanity’s problems, in reality, they will lead to the end of privacy – as every single device, even a kettle, will be hooked up to the ‘Internet of Things’ for monitoring. One of the main narratives being used to drive the smart city is the Official Covid Narrative – with smart cities being sold as ‘pandemic management’.
However, another idea being used to sell smart cities is the ‘green’ agenda. A significant proportion of Western populations are concerned about genuine environmental issues such as pollution and plastic waste, and this can be leveraged by Smart City promoters to push their agenda. For example, this article from 2018 talks about how the ‘Internet of Things’ is the best way to improve the environment by making everything more efficient. In reality, smart cities would devastate the environment due to the large amount of rare earth metals required for chipping everything and the creation of 5G networks, but that aspect is ignored by smart city promoters.
It is clear that the Birmingham Clean Air Zone is being used in such a manner, due to the fact that its surveillance policies will automatically slap online payable fines on non-compliant cars through ANPR processes. These cameras will be able to collect a large amount of data on drivers which allows for a higher level of privacy violation, a key concept of the Smart City.
On an even more sinister level, the idea of the Clean Air Zone may begin to normalise the exclusion of individuals from certain areas for not meeting certain criteria. This is being pushed extremely hard in Britain at the moment through the attempted normalisation of vaccine passports – preventing people from going to social events unless they have had the Covid-19 vaccine. The Official Covid Narrative and the ‘green’ agenda may merge with the concept of the ‘climate lockdown’ – an idea already being promoted and normalised in the mainstream media.
An initially innocuous idea – that of reducing pollution in the Birmingham City Centre – is actually tied into deeper agendas for the introduction of ‘smart cities’ and ramping up mass surveillance under the guise of ‘protecting the planet’.