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GM requests re-appraisal of Clean Air Zone over van worries

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has met with the government to request a freeze to the planned rollout of financial support for van owners affected by the city region’s Clean Air Zone.

The forthcoming Clean Air Zone will place a daily financial penalty on certain types of older, polluting vehicles travelling within Greater Manchester

The Zone will be introduced over two phases. From 30 May 2022, HGVs that do not comply with minimum air quality standards will be charged £60 per day. In the second phase, starting in June 2023, non-compliant vans will be charged £10 per day. Coaches, buses, minibuses, taxis and private hire vehicles are also affected.

A £120 million financial support scheme has been created to help eligible businesses upgrade non-compliant vehicles to cleaner models. However, concerns have been growing over the availability and affordability of compliant vans, which have been affected by global supply chain shortages.

HGV owners have been able to apply for funding of up to £12,000 since 30 November 2021, but the planned rollout of funding for van owners has now been referred back to government. Greater Manchester Councils have requested a formal review of the evidence of supply chain issues and whether the current funding on offer is enough.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said:

“Everyone in Greater Manchester deserves to breathe clean air but we have always said this cannot be at the expense of those who cannot afford to upgrade their vehicles to make them compliant in this timeframe.

“Clean air can only be achieved by the right package of financial support to help people upgrade their vehicles, and this latest evidence highlights significant challenges in this area. We are worried about what this could mean for those businesses and individuals impacted, and their ability to upgrade as well as our ability to deliver the clean air plan.

“I want to reassure all those people who have been in touch that we are listening to you, and we will make sure your voices are heard.”

In the meantime, businesses are being urged to visit the online checker tool to find out whether their vehicles meet the required air quality standards and whether they may be eligible for financial support.

GC Business Growth Hub has also launched a new service to help businesses, sole traders and self-employed people understand their options. A dedicated enquiry team is on hand to provide advice on vehicle compliance and how to minimise the financial impact.

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