Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone: public to be asked for their views over new scheme

Transport for Greater Manchester, which has been working on the plans on behalf of the 10 councils, has promised a public consultation will take place.

A public consultation on revised plans for a Clean Air Zone in Greater Manchester has been promised by transport bosses in the city-region.

The controversial scheme which was due to start in May is currently under review after the government agreed to delay the deadline by which Greater Manchester must lower air pollution below legal limits by two years to 2026.

Mayor Andy Burnham and the 10 council leaders in the city-region now want all charges to be scrapped, but they say more government funding is needed.

Local authorities have until July to submit a new Clean Air Zone scheme that achieves air quality compliance by 2026 which the government must agree to.

Transport for Greater Manchester, which has been working on the plans on behalf of the 10 councils, has promised a public consultation will take place.

Councils are expected to run their own consultations to seek residents’ views.

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Transport strategy director Simon Warburton told councillors on Wednesday (23 March ) that people affected by the plans will help shape the new scheme.

He said: “With regard to formal consultation, we note that throughout, Greater Manchester has been very keen to ensure that this is a consultative process that we’ve taken around the development of the plan with a series of stages having previously been undertaken.

“Therefore, we are anticipating that the authorities will seek a further consultation once the new plan has been assembled in its initial form.

“Proposed arrangements for that is something we would bring forward in June as part of the consideration of that new plan.”

The transport boss told the air quality administration committee that the new plans would be submitted to government before the consultation concludes.

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He said that his team has told government officials that Greater Manchester will only be able to submit a ‘pre-consultation plan’ by the beginning of July.

One of the covered up signs for Greater Manchester Clean air zone Credit: LDRS

A report to the committee also revealed the cost of covering up more than 1,000 out-of-date Clean Air Zone signs in Greater Manchester as £186,000.

Mr Warburton revealed that stickers saying ‘under review’ have been placed on 65 % of the 1,194 CAZ signs which reference the original start date so far.

He said he is ‘confident’ that this work will be complete by the end of March.

Since the committee last met, Greater Manchester’s council leaders and mayor Andy Burnham have agreed that all CAZ charges should be scrapped.

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Instead of charges, cameras would be used to identify non-compliant vehicles and signpost them to financial support – but this would require more funding.

Authorities are also expecting that any future scheme will apply to trunk roads in Tameside which are not managed locally as had been promised previously.