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Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone put on ice

Clean Air Zone charging will not go live from May 2022, following concerns about the potential impact on businesses. Greater Manchester is working with government to deliver a new Plan for clean air by July 2022.


Greater Manchester had been directed by government to implement a charging Clean Air Zone in an effort to bring nitrogen dioxide emissions down to legal levels by 2024. Under the existing plans, HGVs unable to comply with minimum air quality standards would have been charged £60 per day within the city region from 30 May 2022, and vans £10 per day from June 2023. Private cars, motorcycles and mopeds were exempt.

However, evidence suggests that local businesses would find it much harder than originally expected to upgrade their non-compliant vehicles because of global supply issues and elevated vehicle prices.

Such concerns about financial hardship for local people and the availability of compliant vehicles led the Mayor of Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester local authority leaders to ask government to lift its legal direction.

The government agreed with Greater Manchester that the original plan for clean air in the city-region was unworkable within the 2024 timescale and could have created financial hardship for local people due to changes in the availability and affordability of cleaner vehicles. It could not therefore have delivered legal requirements on clean air.

A new government direction now requires Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities to bring nitrogen dioxide on local roads to within legal limits as soon as possible and by no later than 2026. The local authorities have until 1 July 2022 to work with government to develop a new plan that will clean up our air while protecting livelihoods.

In a joint statement, GM mayor Andy Burnham, GM clean air lead Cllr Andrew Western and parliamentary under-secretary of state for environment, Jo Churchill, said: “Air quality is one of our biggest health challenges and we are all completely committed to tackling it. We will work together to deliver, by the middle of the year, a plan for clean air for Greater Manchester, one that is fair to the businesses and residents of the city region.”

The £120 million financial support scheme set up under the initial scheme to help affected people and organisations to upgrade to compliant vehicles will remain in place to support the implementation of the new plan.

 

Businesses are encouraged to sign up for updates at cleanairgm.com.


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