Greater Manchester’s mayor and local authority leaders are urging businesses and residents to give their views on proposals for the ‘biggest’ Clean Air Zone outside London and to help in pressing for Government support funding.
People are being asked for feedback on key elements of the Category C* charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which Government has instructed the Greater Manchester (GM) authorities to introduce to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels on local roads.
“I want to reassure people that this consultation is absolutely not about introducing a congestion tax and anything which suggests otherwise, is misleading and incorrect,” said Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester.
“The Clean Air Zone charges only the most polluting buses, vans, taxis and lorries – private cars are exempt – and we are under Government instruction to introduce one in Greater Manchester. This is about protecting our air now and for future generations and we need to ensure that our final plan reflects local need, particularly amongst businesses who have been hit hard by COVID-19.
“Armed with feedback from as many businesses as possible, we can make the strongest case to Government for a comprehensive package of funding support and enable people to upgrade before the zone is introduced. With just one week to go, fill out the survey and help us get it right.”
Politicians are highlighting that feedback from local businesses is ‘crucial’ to ensure Greater Manchester can make a water-tight case for the right level of Government funding support.
The Government has committed £41 million so far to the programme. But a number of the key parts of the £150 million Government funding sought to help GM businesses upgrade to cleaner, compliant vehicles before the Zone is introduced from 2022 remain the subject of Government review.
A consultation on proposed Minimum Licensing Standards for taxis and private hire vehicles licensed locally is running in parallel. Both eight-week long consultations end at 23.59 on 3rd December.
Councillor Andrew Western, green city-region lead, added: “This zone is about cleaning up our air – not making money. Government funding will enable people to move to cleaner, compliant vehicles and those who upgrade won’t need to pay a daily charge to drive in the zone.
“While we’ve been working with businesses for several years to develop these proposals, it’s now key that we get as much feedback as possible to get the final plans right and make the strongest possible case for funding to support Greater Manchester businesses.
“I know businesses have felt the impact of the pandemic hard, which is why it’s so important they take the time out now to give us their views. This is about your business and the long-term economic success of our city region.”
Transport for Greater Manchester is coordinating the Clean Air and Minimum Licensing Standards consultations on behalf of the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities. The findings from the consultation, along with additional research, will be used to inform future decisions on each aspect of the final plan.
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