Andy Burnham plans to scrap clean air zone charging in Greater Manchester

December 14, 2023 by

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Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said investment in public transport is a more effective way of lowering emissions in the area compared to a clean air charge for vehicles. Read on for all you need to know.

Greater Manchester’s new Clean Air Plan does not include charging for vehicles to enter low emission zones. Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham claims that it’s more effective to invest in public transport to lower pollution in the city.

The 10 local authorities within Greater Manchester are required by the Government to reduce their nitrogen dioxide levels to within the legal limits by 2026, and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has set out a Clean Air plan to reach this target.

The proposed plan would see a total investment of £86.7 million in low-emission buses, taxis and traffic management systems to improve traffic flow in Manchester and Salford. £51.2 million of that would be set aside for 64 all-electric buses, which will run in areas where nitrogen dioxide exceeds the legal limits, and charging infrastructure at depots.

There would also be a Clean Taxi Fund of £30.5 million to provide grants to all eligible Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers to help them upgrade to cleaner cars which meet emissions standards by the end of 2025.

Five million pounds would also be invested in traffic management in Manchester and Salford, helping ease congestion and bring nitrogen dioxide levels down on Regent Road and Quay Street.

Commenting on the new Clean Air Plan, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Cleaning up the air that people breathe is a priority for Greater Manchester and we have already started to do that through investment in the Bee Network, which saw the first buses brought back under local control in September.

“By accelerating investment in the Bee Network to create a London-style integrated public transport network, and upgrading GM-licensed taxis, we can improve air quality faster than if we introduced a Clean Air Zone, and without causing hardship to our residents or businesses.

“Since the first bus services came under local control, we have listened to feedback to make improvements and deliver change and are already seeing the benefits the Bee Network brings, with more people getting on board with lower fares under a locally controlled service, with new, state-of-the-art electric buses.”

The GMCA says that these measures will bring the area’s nitrogen dioxide levels down to legal limits by 2025, one year ahead of the government’s deadline. It also claims that introducing a system which sees drivers charged to enter the clean air zone wouldn’t lower emissions to the legal level until after 2026.

Greater Manchester’s Air Quality Administration Committee will discuss these proposals on 20 December 2023.

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