Mayor of Greater Manchester scraps charging CAZ plans

Plans to charge polluting vehicles as part of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone will be scrapped if the government approves a new scheme announced by the Mayor.

Andy Burnham has written to the Environment Secretary outlining plans for an investment-led, non-charging Clean Air Plan for the region, with local leaders opposed to imposing charges following the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the government agreed a short-term pause in the implementation of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone in February 2022, after the original scheme was deemed unworkable due to global vehicle supply chain issues linked to the pandemic and the emerging cost of living crisis.

The new plans would see a non-charging Category B Clean Air Zone introduced, designed to incentivize people to upgrade their vehicles using Clean Air funding already allocated by government alongside additional financial support, without directly charging polluting vehicles.

GMCA said the new plan would deliver compliance with legal air quality levels in all parts of the city region by 2026.

aerial photography of concrete buildings at daytime

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, 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.

‘It is only right that we now provide an update on the progress we have made towards developing a new Clean Air Plan to be agreed with Government. That is why I’ve written to the Environment Secretary reiterating our call for an investment-led, non-charging Clean Air Plan and I would urge our colleagues in Government to engage with us on this matter as soon as possible.’

Cllr Andrew Western, GMCA Portfolio Lead for Clean Air and Chair of the Greater Manchester Air Quality Administration Committee, commented: ‘Air quality is one of our biggest health challenges and we are still completely committed to tackling it. But if we are to succeed in cleaning up Greater Manchester’s air, we must have a plan that is fit for purpose and fair to the people of our city-region.

‘We are acutely aware of the devastating ongoing financial impact of the cost-of-living crisis, and that’s why we believe an investment-led non-charging Clean Air Plan is the way forward. But I would like to stress that no decision has yet been taken on a new plan in Greater Manchester and that a new scheme would have to be agreed with Government.

‘To that end, we want to build on the constructive talks held with Government in January and progress with a plan that is right for Greater Manchester. Time is of the essence if we are to develop this plan with residents and businesses in our city-region, so we are urging the Environment Secretary and his Government colleagues to engage with use on this matter as soon as possible.’

Photo by William McCue


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Max Brown
Max Brown
2 years ago

What a total cop out

2 years ago

Andy Burnham makes this seem like it was his idea to stop the CAZ including a charging scheme when it was he, TfGM and GMCA that designed the original charging scheme which caused an uproar across Greater Manchester. Because its residents created such a furore, Burnham had no other option other than to scrap their ludicrous scheme and ask the Government to pause its introduction whilst a new scheme was designed. Due to public pressure Burnham has now opted for a non charging scheme that will require significant funding to enable it to proceed.

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