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Clean Air Zone: Manchester’s views on the 2022 environmental scheme

We spoke to the people of Manchester to hear how much they know about the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone and what they think of the plan, which has been dividing opinion online.

In a mission to make the city-region a greener and less polluted place, work is currently under way to get ready for the launch of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone.

The city-region is aiming to introduce the UK’s largest Clean Air Zone outside of London covering almost 1,300 sq km and coming into effect in May 2022.

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The Zone aims to reduce harmful air pollution on local roads, with a goal of making the city-region safer for everyone.

Some of the most polluting commercial and passenger vehicles will have to pay a daily charge to travel in the Zone. Government funding is available to help eligible Greater Manchester people, businesses and organisations move to cleaner, compliant vehicles and not have to pay a daily charge.

The Clean Air Financial Support Scheme is currently open to applications from eligible heavy goods vehicle (HGV) owners, with applications for other vehicle owners due to open in late January 2022.

However, some argue that more support needs to be made available and an online petition of opposition has gained thousands of signatures, prompting local leaders to say they would listen to concerns.

A recent statement issued by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Councillor Andrew Western, the city-region’s Clean Air lead said: “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 that they have so far failed to agree to our request for additional support for those who will find it hardest to make the change. We also warned them of our on-going concerns about the vehicle supply chain and the cooperation of National Highways.”

We’ve been out on the streets of Manchester to hear the publics views on the plan.