Plans to launch a clean-air zone in Greater Manchester this spring have been shelved.
In October 2020 H&H reported on plans announced by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to introduce the clean air zone, which had been due to open in May. Under the plans, non-compliant vehicles – including horseboxes – over 3.5tonnes would pay £60 per day to drive in the zone, but a discounted rate of £10 was to be available for vehicles that are privately owned. After 1 June 2023, non-compliant vehicles under 3.5 tonnes, including some small vans and flatbed trucks would pay £10 per day.
The plans were met with backlash and concerns from the public around financial hardship – and from the equestrian world including show centres, competitors, and owners who faced being charged to tend to their horses if they drove older vehicles.
But on 23 February TfGM announced the Government has agreed that the zone will not go ahead on 30 May. Greater Manchester’s clean-air leaders have deemed the current plan – developed under a legal direction to meet air quality limits by 2024 – “unworkable” and that it could have created financial hardship for people owing to changes in the availability and affordability of “cleaner vehicles”.
Greater Manchester’s clean-air leaders now have until 1 July 2022 to work with the Government to develop a new plan that will “clean up the air while protecting livelihoods”.
Clean-air signs already erected around Greater Manchester will be covered, and applications for discounts and exemptions have been paused. HGV funding remains open to support people to upgrade and help deliver improved air quality.
“ANPR cameras that have been installed will be utilised, under agreement with Government, to gather real-time data to inform the new plan, including monitoring vehicle fleet renewal trends and specific traffic mix at key locations where nitrogen dioxide levels are in breach of legal limits,” said a TfGM spokesman.
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