THE Clean Air Zone scheme has been referred back to the Government after a vote from Greater Manchester councils.

The controversial plans have met much opposition from residents, which intended to charge certain vehicles a daily fee for driving in an area of Greater Manchester.

From May 2022, this will include a charge of £60 per day for Heavy Goods Vehicles, buses and coaches and £7.50 for taxis if owners do not upgrade or retrofit their vehicles.

Non-compliant vans and minibuses are also set to be charged £10 a day from June 2023.

The move has been enforced on the region by the government to reduce air pollution, but has met much criticism from residents, motorists and local business owners from across the region.

%image('13355849', type="article-full", alt="The Clean Air Zone would cover the entire ten boroughs of Greater Manchester from May 2022")

Acknowledging these concerns, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority paused the roll-out of the plans last week and stated they wanted to "sit down with the government to discuss the issues".

After a vote from councils across Greater Manchester, it has been decided to send the plans back to the government to make the scheme fair for everyone.

%image('13355845', type="article-full", alt="Andy Burnham stated that he wants to make the scheme \"work for everyone\"")

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

Greater Manchester has tried in good faith to make the Government’s legal direction work. However, changes in the vehicle market mean it is impossible to proceed on the current basis without causing real hardship to some of our residents.

"We remain committed to tackling illegal levels of air pollution in GM as soon as possible. This decision opens up the space for urgent, joint discussions with the Government about potential changes to make the scheme fair for everyone.

"I am listening to people’s concerns and will always stand up for GM. I am not the final decision-maker but will do everything I can, working with Government, to get this to the right place."