Manchester Clean Air Zone to exempt more vehicles from charges til 2023

Mayor Andy Burnham says the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone will still come into effect in May but with some changes,

A change in the rules of the Clean Air Zone in Greater Manchester means more vehicles will be exempt from paying daily charges until next year.

The controversial scheme which would cover all 493 square miles of the city-region will come into effect in May – but some vehicles will be exempt at first.

Taxis which are licensed in Greater Manchester and do not meet the emission standards set to cut air pollution would not face any charges until June 2023.

After that, all taxis would have to pay £7.50 a day to use the region’s roads.

A graphic showing the boundary of the GM Clean Air Zone

However, hackney carriage and private hire vehicles had to be registered with a local authority by December 2020 to qualify for the exemption to charges.

Advertisement

But a change to the rule means all taxis licensed by local authorities in Greater Manchester before 2 February will be exempt from the charges until next year.

It comes as Andy Burnham says charges could be scrapped altogether if the government extends the deadline to meet legal limits on air pollution to 2027.

What’s the latest?

In a press conference held on the day the exemption rules were changed, the mayor said no taxis would pay daily charges if the government accepts this.

He said a Clean Air Zone would still come into force in May, but rather than facing fines, owners of non-compliant buses, lorries and taxis from outside the city-region would be contacted and advised on how to upgrade their vehicles.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham at the police, fire and crime panel on January 31, 2022. Credit: GMCA.

Advertisement

The Labour mayor called on the government to set a new date for compliance, saying a charges would not be required if the deadline is extended to 2027.

But Burnham said that if the ministerial direction is moved to 2025, a smaller charging scheme might still be introduced, including for locally licensed taxis.

Councillors on the Clean Air Charging Authorities Committee approved the changes to the taxi exemption rules at a meeting on Wednesday (February 2).

They were told that any taxis registered after this date would not qualify.

Representatives from Transport for Greater Manchester told the committee that vehicle owners will be contacted by local authorities about the changes.

Advertisement

Transport strategy director Simon Warburton also promised to bring regular updates to the committee about the review of the Clean Air Zone scheme.

He said: “We’ve been very careful to make sure that this element that we’re bringing forward is very specific in terms of ensuring the right arrangements are in place with those aspects of the scheme that continue to move forward regardless of the review and to have that clarity for the local taxi trade.”