Bid to win congestion charge campaign

Date published: 22 August 2008

A campaign to win the hearts and minds of Rochdale people over congestion charging is being launched.

Costing £25,000, the community awareness programme will be run by Rochdale Council jointly with Oldham Council.

Officers say both towns will feel the same impact from the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) bid, which is hoped will bring £3 billion of transport funding into Greater Manchester.

As well as raising awareness, the programme will promote Metrolink’s benefits and the wider package of proposals.

A report for executive director of regeneration Tom Flanagan says the publicity and community awareness programme will “provide a rapid response to rebut factual inaccuracies about the TIF package and proposed implantation of schemes, including congestion charging”.

The report points out that winning the TIF money would mean 30 years’ worth of transport investment in a short period.

Officers say the most talked-about parts of the bid are likely to be the congestion charge, and whether other parts can be guaranteed.

The report adds: “That will require a concentrated effort to win ‘hearts and minds’ and secure the widespread public and partnership support.”

The community awareness programme will describe the benefits of the TIF bid, answer questions, particularly about congestion charging, stir up debate, put the bid into context, and provide a local focus sensitive to local issues and pressures.

It will be carried out by October Communications which has worked for North-West councils, companies such as George Wimpey and organisations such as the Red Cross.

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