INCOMING plans to reduce air pollution in Greater Manchester have proven extremely controversial with people right across the borough - as daily charges are set to be enacted on certain vehicles within the Clean Air Zone.

From May 2022, all ten boroughs within Greater Manchester will be under the new Clean Air Zone to significantly reduce harmful air pollution levels by 2024.

While private cars and motorbikes will not be affected, more polluting vehicles such as HGVs, buses, coaches, vans, minibuses and taxis will be forced to pay a daily charge if they do not meet the new emission standards.

The move has been enforced on the region by the government, which has provided £120 million to ensure residents meet these standards and help them replace, upgrade or retrofit their vehicles to cleaner sources of energy.

If vehicles do not comply with the changes, there will be a daily charge of £60 for HGVs, buses and coaches, and £7.50 for taxis and private hire vehicles after May 30.
Non-compliant vans and minibuses will also be charged £10 a day from June 2023.

Leigh Journal: To reduce harmful, Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority are introducing daily charges for certain motor vehiclesTo reduce harmful, Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority are introducing daily charges for certain motor vehicles

Disabled passenger vehicles and emergency service vehicles will be permanently exempt, while certain Greater Manchester licensed vehicles may apply for a temporary exemption until next summer.

Nevertheless, as the date to comply with the Clean Air Zone approaches, there has been increasing criticism at the changes - with an online group of more than 30 thousand people condemning the move and thousands of others signing a petition to revoke the plans.

Many are concerned that the changes will hit ordinary working people the most; in particular those who cannot work from home and need their vehicle to travel every day within the borough.
Others have wondered why the entire region of Greater Manchester – a total of 493 square miles – has been included in the strict plans, and not just the more polluting areas such as the centre of Manchester.

Leigh Journal: All 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester will be included in the Clean Air ZoneAll 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester will be included in the Clean Air Zone

In a statement issued today, Thursday, January 6, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Councillor Andrew Western, the city-region’s Clean Air lead said: “In March 2020, the Government instructed all ten Greater Manchester councils to introduce a charging Clean Air Zone to tackle harmful levels of air pollution and achieve compliance with legal standards by 2024 at the latest.

“We know this is a major challenge for many individuals and businesses which is why we have always been clear with Ministers that it must be accompanied by a fair package of financial support.

"While the Government has provided £120m, we are concerned that they have so far failed to agree to our request for additional support for those who will find it hardest to make the change. We also warned them of our ongoing concerns about the vehicle supply chain and the cooperation of National Highways.

“Over the past few months, Greater Manchester has continued to monitor these issues alongside the ongoing impact of the pandemic and increases in the cost of living. In addition, late last year we commissioned new work to understand the impact of the growing global supply chain issues in the automotive sector which could affect the availability of some vehicles and people’s ability to upgrade.

“Greater Manchester leaders will consider the outcome of this work next week before asking the Clean Air Joint Committee to consider the implications for the Clean Air Plan later in the month. We are committed to reducing air pollution in Greater Manchester but also to protecting the jobs and livelihoods of our residents. We are listening carefully to concerns being expressed about the current situation and will make a decision shortly on our next steps.”

 

To find out more about the Clean Air Zone and see if you are eligible for financial support, visit this link