Greater Manchester CAZ: government pushes for city centre charge

The government wants the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to contain charges for the city centre, despite opposition from Mayor Andy Burnham.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham proposed to drop all charges in the CAZ, outlining plans for an investment-led, non-charging Clean Air Plan for the region, after local leaders opposed imposing charges following the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis.

He said: ‘We know the original Clean Air Plan caused serious concern among many residents and businesses earlier this year. We listened to what people were telling us and urgently commissioned research into those areas of concern, namely the global vehicle supply chain issues and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Because of the action Greater Manchester took, we agreed a pause of the scheme with Government. We are now confident from the work we’ve been doing that we can secure the right plan for our residents and businesses, which cleans up our air, but doesn’t result in hardship or a single job being lost. We now need Government to work with us on this to help deliver our vision.’

The Environment Secretary George Eustice has written back to the Mayor, telling him that the revised CAZ scheme should include charges but only in a small area.

aerial view of city buildings during daytime

In the letter, the Rt Hon George Eustice MP said: ‘It is important that we get the right measures to improve air quality and recognise we are seeking to address the impacts on public health, whilst being cognisant of the cost of living for individuals and businesses.’

He added: ‘Your previous approach to the problem was to propose by far the largest charging Clean Air Zone in the country, covering the entire city region of almost 500 square miles, 30 miles across at its widest point and with a population of 2.8 million.

‘You have now gone to the opposite extreme, suggesting the same effects can be achieved without any charging measures at all, anywhere.’

The Environment Minister claims that there is ‘little robust evidence’ to show that a non-charging scheme could meet legal obligations to achieve compliance with NO2 limits in the shortest possible time and by 2026 at the latest.

In response to the letter, Mayor Andy Burnham tweeted: ‘We will oppose this and continue to argue for a non-charging CAZ for [Greater Manchester], based on incentives not charges.’

Photo by Mylo Kaye


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Tom Rook
Tom Rook
2 years ago

I’m 69 and our house backs onto what was the M62 now M60 for 44 years, with no breathing problems with mum, dad and myself, if there’s a problem with air quality, why not start with having an additional emission test for all vehicles inc 6 month old vehicles?

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