Consultation opens on clean air zone plan
Date published: 16 May 2019
Roads that are some of the worst affected by air pollution - specifically nitrogen dioxide
Proposals to create a clean air zone (CAZ) across Greater Manchester are now open to public feedback.
Unveiled by mayor Andy Burnham earlier this year, the measures would see the most polluting commercial vehicles face daily fees in a bid to cut lethal levels of nitrogen dioxide.
The city region’s CAZ would be the largest outside of London with combined authority leaders hoping to agree a financial support package of more than £100m with central government for upgrade schemes.
A seven-week consultation is running until the end of June.
“Air pollution at the roadside is one of the biggest threats to our health in Greater Manchester and, as a result, it affects how productive we are,” said deputy mayor Sir Richard Leese.
“We need to make sure that our Clean Air Plan proposals tackle air pollution from commercial road vehicles as quickly as possible to protect the health of us all.”
A two-phase implementation will mean buses, coaches, HGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles face charges from 2021, if they have not been upgraded to less polluting models or fitted with technology to make them comply with the emissions target.
Similar charges for non-compliant vans would then follow from 2023.
The move could result in the city region meeting clean air targets by 2024 with air pollution currently estimated to contribute to 1,200 across Greater Manchester each year, leaders have said.
Mr Burnham has previously emphasised the CAZ is not a congestion charge, adding that the wider issue is one of ‘health inequality’.
Although bosses at one leading bus company have voiced criticism that the daily charges are ‘nothing short of a stealth tax’.
Buses and lorries would be expected to pay £100 per day, with taxis and vans facing a £7.50 fee.
The funding package requested from central government would enable vehicle upgrade schemes.
Sir Richard Leese added: “We recognise that our proposals could be challenging for many businesses across the region, in particular small businesses and sole traders – the backbone of our economy.
“That’s why we’re working with businesses to understand how the proposals could affect them and to make sure that the right funding from government and support is available to help them switch to cleaner vehicles or retrofit their older, most polluting vehicles.”
Business owners are also being urged to give their feedback on the plans.
“Air pollution is not just bad for our health – it’s bad for business. An unhealthy workforce means more sick leave and lower productivity,” said Chris Fletcher, from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
“Business input will be crucial to make sure the detailed plan offers the right support for business, from sole traders to large companies.”
A further public consultation on an updated draft is expected later this year before a full business case is developed.
To provide feedback, visit:
James Illingworth, Local Democracy Reporter
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