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Clean Air Zone plans in Greater Manchester delayed

In December 2023, Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, decided to scrap his own plans to introduce a Clean Air Zone across the city region. The zone was just days away from first being set live in 2022 when BBC Radio Manchester had its busiest-ever phone-in from angry local commercial vehicle drivers and businesses who were saying the costs were unviable. Burnham planned to charge buses, coaches and HGVs £60 per day, taxis and private hire vehicles £7.50 per day, and LGVs such as vans and minibuses £10 per day. The Greater Manchester combined authority legally has to reduce nitrogen dioxide rates to acceptable levels before 2026 and his own review has now said the initial plans his team drew up wouldn’t work. Burnham himself said; “I’d also ask Government to urgently consider allowing Greater Manchester local authorities to remove charging Clean Air Zone signs, as modelling shows that only Greater Manchester’s investment-led plan can meet the legal test placed on the 10 councils to deliver compliance in the shortest possible time and by 2026 at the latest.” So, what’s changed? Well, since the initial plans were postponed, Andy Burnham has launched Greater Manchester’s Bee Network – its own network of buses after it became the first city-region outside of London to manage its fleet. The plans were highly controversial and extremely expensive to the local taxpayer with estimates stating Burnham’s plans would cost £134m+. And given bus usage has been in constant decline – and was sped up due to Covid-19 – it doesn’t surprise us at all that the science suddenly says ‘the plans won’t work’ at a time when his new bus network simply won’t be able to afford to pay a £60 per day charge. In terms of how the clean air targets will now be hit, Burnham says he can do this by investing £51.2million in zero-emission electric buses, £30.5million in grants for cleaner taxis and £5million to improve traffic flow across the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Clean Air Zone will come into effect on 30 May, 2022.

The CAZ limit will follow the authoritative limit of Greater Manchester as intently as could be expected. It incorporates neighborhood streets, yet does exclude the Strategic Road Network of motorways and significant trunk streets which are overseen by National Highways.

Non-compliant vehicles are Euro 5 or earlier diesel engines, Euro 3 or earlier petrol engines.

It is £7.50/24h for a passenger vehicle.

Taxis and PHVs authorized in Greater Manchester previously or on 3 December 2020 will be naturally absolved from paying the Greater Manchester CAZ day-by-day charge until 1 June 2023.

Non-compliant taxicabs and PHVs authorized in Greater Manchester later 3 December 2020 would not have a brief exclusion thus would pay the day-by-day charge from 30 May 2022. (All non-compliant taxicabs and PHVs authorized external Greater Manchester would likewise pay the day-by-day charge from 30 May 2022).