The Controversial charges for polluting vehicles as part of Greater Manchester’s plan for a clean air zone as to be postponed as Mayor Andy Burnham criticises Boris Johnson’s Government over its lack of financial support for the scheme
The Clean Air Zone scheduled to begin on 30th May 2022 continues but as a non-charging GM-wide Category B CAZ (including buses, HGVs and non-GM registered taxis).
This will allow people time to adjust and, instead of fines, people will be contacted to advise to where they can find support.
All private-use leisure vehicles – such as motorhomes, camper-vans and horseboxes, as well as cars, motorbikes and mopeds – are permanently exempted from the CAZ.
If the evidence supports it, that there will no longer be a GM-wide Category C zone (including vans and GM-registered taxis) but either a reduced Category C scheme or no Category C scheme at all. This will depend on the Government decision on an amended year of compliance.
To reconfirm that this is a temporary CAZ which will last no longer than it is needed to achieve air compliance.
Early discussions have already begun with Greater Manchester Police with regard to the potential use of the ANPR infrastructure in the second half of this decade for policing purposes. If this proposal was to be taken forward, there would be a full public consultation on it and all of the implications carefully considered.
In a statement issued by the Mayor he said that it is now for the Government to decide whether they are prepared to set a new date for compliance and what that date should be.
Burnham said that he was committed to cleaning up the air residents breathe – but in a way that helps people to make the change and does not put jobs, livelihoods and businesses at risk.
He added that the current Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone (CAZ) was designed before the pandemic.
“It was based on a legal direction from the Government requiring action in all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs to clean up the air and compliance in as short a time as possible and by no later than by 2024. It is the nature of this Government direction, and the tight timetable, which has shaped the CAZ proposal, together with the Government’s requirement to use a charging CAZ as the default option.”
“We have” he says “repeatedly raised concerns over a number of years about the level of funding being offered by the Government to help people upgrade vehicles. These concerns intensified last year when the effects of the pandemic became clear.
And attacking Boris Johnson who called the scheme unworkable,Burnham said The Prime Minister today gave the impression that his government has so far had nothing to do with the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone when he described it as completely unworkable. I must remind him of the facts, which he seems to need on a daily basis at the moment.
“First, I am not and have never been the instigator nor the final decision maker in this scheme.
It is his Government which initiated it when it placed a legal direction on each of our ten councils.”
“Second, by setting a compliance date of 2024, straight after a pandemic, it is his Government’s legal direction that is unworkable.”
“And third, it was Greater Manchester which drew their attention to this, not the Government. Our Joint Clean Air Committee of the ten councils voted to refer this back to Government back in January and I personally relayed the request to lift the legal direction to the Environment Secretary last week and allow more time for compliance.”