Having come under tremendous pressure, Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has delayed the introduction of Manchester’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ)
As a result of huge pressure from local businesses who were presenting the very real threat of Manchester’s CAZ marking the end of numerous businesses across a wide range of sectors, Andy Burnham request a postponement of his own CAZ that was designed to help the region deliver legal levels of NO2.
It is widely expected that Burnham will need to go back to the drawing board to work out how he can clean up the region.
Under the current plans, buses, coaches and HGVs would’ve been charged £60 per day, taxis and private hire vehicles £7.50 per day, and LGVs such as vans and minibuses £10 per day.
The costs were set to be rolled out across all nine Greater Manchester boroughs and run seven days per week.
Local BBC Radio Manchester host, Mike Sweeney, reported he’d had the busiest phone-ins of his 25 year career with angry business owners worried about the implications this would have on their businesses.
And with the pressure mounting, Burnham requested he be given longer to meet targets, a move the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) approved.
The postponement has given Burnham no later than 2026 to bring in any changes, but as part of this agreement he does need to implement any action ‘as soon as possible’ – so the delay may not last that long.
According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), since their proposals were submitted in 2019, there have been a number of challenges, including the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains and the price and availability of second hand vehicles.
These impacts are believed to make it harder for people to upgrade to cleaner vehicles, which means the Clean Air Zone is unlikely to deliver compliance with legal limits by 2024.
Defra said: “The government has carefully considered the mayor’s proposal and following meetings last week and further discussions today, the Environment Secretary has agreed to allow a short delay to the implementation of the Clean Air Zone.
“This will allow Greater Manchester to provide further evidence and a revised plan by July setting out how it will deliver legal levels of NO2 as soon as possible and no later than 2026.”
It believes it is important for Greater Manchester to “get this right” considering the scale of the proposed Clean Air Zone is nearly three times the size of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone.