MORE than 1,200 people have signed a petition trying to save a hugely popular heritage bus service.

At the moment Transport Museum Wythall, a living museum specialising in historic vehicles, runs a service to Birmingham city centre to serve special event days at its Wythall site.

This 750 service runs just 11 times a year.

However, the museum say that it is now under threat from Birmingham City Council which will introduce a clean air zone covering all roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road from July 1 2020.

All diesel-engined buses entering the zone must comply or face a daily charge of £50 per vehicle per day.

Wythall’s heritage buses, some of which are 60 years old, cannot practically meet the new emissions limits without destroying their originality.

Birmingham City Council has agreed an exemption applying to historic vehicles (aged 40 years and over) but this will not apply to Wythall’s vehicles as the museum is deemed to run its vehicles commercially, for profit.

Denis Chick, from the museum, said that the museum does not make a profit – all income is ploughed back into restoring and maintaining its heritage vehicle fleet and running the transport museum.

"As a 100 per cent volunteer operation, we work very hard to preserve the heritage of public transport in the West Midlands," he said.

"Last year the museum attracted over 10,000 visitors with over 1,000 of these from educational visits.

"Paying a £50 charge for each vehicle on 11 days of the year would take up to £1,100 out of our income."

The museum has requested that the council exempt the service but to date, this has been denied.

As a last resort it has launched a petition at urging the council to change its mind.

Mr Chick added: "Every penny raised is re-invested into the museum and its collection to ensure its sustainability so we are asking for public support through our petition as, without an exemption, the 750 service will have to be withdrawn."