Greater Manchester CAZ scheme turns air blue?

DRIVERS could be hit by hefty charges of up to £60 a day when Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) initiative comes into place on May 30.

But tens of thousands of people across the area have already signed petitions asking Mayor Andy Burnham to scrap the plans.

The CAZ scheme has been developed to tackle harmful and illegally high levels of roadside air pollution across the city-region as soon as possible.

Clean Air Zone signs have been installed across Saddleworth | Saddleworth Independent

Private cars, motorbikes and mopeds won’t be affected but the charges – ranging from £7.50 to £60 – will apply to non-compliant vehicles including some heavy goods vehicles, buses, coaches, vans, minibuses, Hackney cabs and private hire vehicles and motorcaravans.

The zone stretches across the whole of Greater Manchester and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.

Similar plans are being introduced by local authorities across the county, with some already in operation, as part of the government’s request for them to tackle harmful levels of air pollution.

But it has been met across Greater Manchester with anger and frustration by drivers who do not want to be hit in the pocket on a daily basis.

A vandalised sign on the border of Greenfield and Mossley | Saddleworth Independent

A RETHINK the Clean Air Zone – Greater Manchester Facebook page has already attracted more than 50,000 supporters and petitions have been launched calling for the plans to be scrapped.

Concerns include the additional costs that count mount up, especially for small business owners and sole traders, as well as confusion over why some vehicles are classed as compliant while others are not.

Government funding of £120 million is available to help eligible vehicle owners upgrade their vehicles to cleaner, compliant vehicles that meet emissions standards.

Funding will initially be targeted to support micro-businesses, sole traders, the voluntary sector and private owners and the amount of support will depend on the vehicle type and size.

And from late January 2022 owners or registered keepers of eligible non-compliant vehicles will be able to apply for a temporary exemption or discount.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Councillor Andrew Western, the city-region’s Clean Air lead, said they are committed to reducing air pollution but also to helping protect residents’ jobs and livelihoods.

They commented: “In March 2020, the Government instructed all ten Greater Manchester councils to introduce a charging Clean Air Zone to tackle harmful levels of air pollution and achieve compliance with legal standards by 2024 at the latest.

“We know this is a major challenge for many individuals and businesses which is why we have always been clear with Ministers that it must be accompanied by a fair package of financial support.

“While the Government has provided £120m, we are concerned they have so far failed to agree to our request for additional support for those who will find it hardest to make the change.

Charges are proposed for vehicles as part of the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) | Saddleworth Independent

“We also warned them of our on-going concerns about the vehicle supply chain and the cooperation of National Highways.

“Over the past few months, Greater Manchester has continued to monitor these issues alongside the on-going impact of the pandemic and increases in the cost of living.

“In addition, late last year we commissioned new work to understand the impact of the growing global supply chain issues in the automotive sector which could affect the availability of some vehicles and people’s ability to upgrade.

“Greater Manchester leaders will consider the outcome of this work before asking the Clean Air Joint Committee to consider the implications for the Clean Air Plan later in the month.

“We are committed to reducing air pollution but also to protecting the jobs and livelihoods of our residents.

“We are listening carefully to concerns being expressed about the current situation and will make a decision shortly on our next steps.”

• To find out more, see if your vehicle is affected and if you are eligible for financial support, to view an interactive Clean Air Zone map, see the daily charges, discounts and exemptions, visit https://cleanairgm.com/clean-air-zone/

Daily charges for non-compliant vehicles
• Heavy goods vehicles: £60 from 30 May 2022
• Buses: £60 from 30 May 2022
• Coaches: £60 from 30 May (owners of vehicles not used on a registered bus service will be able to apply for a temporary exemption until 1 June 2023)
• Vans (light goods vehicles): £10 from 1 June 2023
• Minibuses: £10 from 1 June 2023
• Hackney cabs and private hire vehicles: £7.50 from 30 May 2022 (temporary exemption for most Greater Manchester- licensed vehicles until 1 June 2023)
• Motorcaravans (motorhomes/ campervans): The daily charge and date of introduction will depend on the tax class of the vehicle

One Reply to “Greater Manchester CAZ scheme turns air blue?”

  1. Andy Burnham said that if he was elected, which he was, then he would not bring in a charge to drive into Manchester. So why now after Mr Burnham was elected has there been a charge introduced. This will kill off Manchester shops and shopping arcades from the city will prosper.

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