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Controversial Clean Air Zone plans halted

by WeDrive

Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone: Plans for city centre charge only

The controversial Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone, which would have seen drivers of polluting vehicles charged to enter one of the 10 local authorities, was set to be implemented on 30 May, but it was halted following huge public backlash, and the deadline to bring air pollution below legal limits was pushed back by two years to 2026.

City-region leaders then released new proposals for the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone (CAZ), where it argued the scheme should be non-charging, and instead £120 million of government money will be used to help owners adapt or retrofit their vehicles.

The government wants charges to remain in the revised Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone (CAZ) scheme but only in the city centre.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham had proposed to drop all charges in the bid to limit pollution.

Mr Burnham said he would “continue to argue” to have a “non-charging” scheme.

The environment secretary has written to Mr Burnham telling him to reduce the zone by 95% or more.

High-polluting vehicles should only be charged in the most polluted area in Manchester city centre, George Eustice said.

It was supposed to encourage owners to buy new, greener vehicles or retrofit old ones, but the proposals were delayed in February after concerns meeting pollution targets too soon could put many local firms out of business.

Taxi drivers and small business owners said the additional charges created by the CAZ would destroy their businesses, and complained they were not being offered enough assistance to buy new lower-emission vehicles.

The government has been calling on regional authorities to introduce CAZs since the UK’s highest court, the Supreme Court, ordered ministers in 2015 to take immediate action to cut air pollution.

Greater Manchester must agree on a new scheme with the government which achieves air quality compliance within NO2 limits no later than 2026, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

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