Cars exempted from Greater Manchester’s new Clean Air Zone

Buses, vans and taxis will be charged from £7.50 to £60 a day to fight air pollution.

Chris Boardman and Andy Burnham
Chris Boardman and Andy Burnham

Cars will be exempt from a Clean Air Zone to be introduced across Greater Manchester but buses and lorries will be charged £60 a day.

The scheme, which aims to clean up dirty air polluted by traffic, will launch on May 30 next year.

Vans and minibuses will be charged £10 a day and taxis registered in Greater Manchester, £7.50 a day, from the following year, 2023 and, at the same time, a charge of £60 for coaches will apply.

The scheme is expected to be rubber-stamped at a meeting next week of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) representing the 10 boroughs of the region.

The Government has ordered all regions to bring down air pollution by 2024.

Birmingham’s scheme, launched earlier this month, is now charging highly-polluting cars, taxis and vans £8 a day, but Greater Manchester has exempted private cars.

Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, announced the details of the Clean Air Zone, along with a new cycle-hire scheme for the region.

Mr Burnham said: “It is a fact that it’s the poorest kids in the poorest communities that have to breathe in the most polluted air.

“Every year in Greater Manchester, over a thousand deaths have air pollutions as a contributory cause. It’s just not something we should ignore anymore.

“It’s time to change things.”

Mr Burnham said funding of £120 million has been promised, through grants and loans, for people and businesses affected to move to using electric vehicles and he did not want “a single job or a single business lost” and people now have more time to prepare as the scheme is introduced in stages.

Vans could get up to £4,500 towards the replacement or retro-fit of a vehicle to cut emissions, Hackney Cabs up to £10,000, HGV’s up to £12,000 and coaches £32,000.

A consultation on the scheme received about 4,000 responses and a plan for a Congestion Charge was voted down in a referendum in 2008.

Mr Burnham stressed the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) was not a “congestion charge” and once a vehicle is compliant with air-pollution standards, such as an electric vehicle, or those meeting emissions standards, there will be no charge.

The CAZ charges will apply to all roads in the region, apart from those managed by Highways England, such as motorways and trunk roads.

However, sections of the A628 and A57 through the villages of Hollingworth and Mottram, east of Manchester, will be included in the zone, as the area is a notorious traffic bottle-neck.

Councillor Andrew Western, Greater Manchester lead for Clean Air, said: “We want Greater Manchester to be a healthy, sustainable and happy place to grow up, get on and get old and we can’t afford to be complacent about this globally significant issue.”

Former Olympic cyclist, Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s Transport Commissioner, welcomed the cycle hire scheme, which will see 1,500 bikes and e-bikes at more than 200 cycle hire docking stations across Manchester, Trafford and Salford.

Mr Boardman said: “Today is a major milestone for the city-region – not only do we have a solid plan to make vehicles on our roads cleaner, we’ll soon be bringing cycle hire to our streets – providing a healthy, convenient, non-polluting transport option for tens of thousands of people.”

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