Andy Burnham shuns plan to cost highway customers to wash up air air pollution

Plans to cost highway customers in Greater Manchester to wash up air air pollution have been dropped if the Government agrees, Andy Burnham confirmed on Friday.

Mr Burnham, the Mayor of Higher Manchester, introduced new proposals for a non-charging zone, which should be agreed by authorities, with incentives for previous and polluting automobiles to be eligible for grants to switch them.

He mentioned: “We’re going right into a negotiation.

“The pink line is, we won’t settle for a charging clean-air zone in Higher Manchester.

“And if is that what the Authorities desires, it should impose it.”

The Authorities has ordered all areas to deliver down air air pollution by 2024, with totally different cities and areas taking totally different approaches.

Mayor of Higher Manchester, Andy Burnham (Jacob King/PA)

Higher Manchester’s authentic plan to cost highway customers from Could this 12 months was “paused” in February after the Authorities and the Higher Manchester Mixed Authority (GMCA) agreed to delay the scheme till 2026.

Grants of £120m have been made obtainable however pandemic issues had triggered a scarcity of electrical or hybrid automobiles for highway customers to transform to earlier than the scheme was set to start in 2024.

It will have seen buses and lorries charged £60 a day to make use of the area’s roads.

Vans and minibuses would have been charged £10 a day and taxis registered in Higher Manchester, £7.50 a day, from the next 12 months, 2023 and, on the similar time, a cost of £60 for coaches will apply.

Mr Burnham and different politicians had confronted rising criticism from some drivers and political rivals over the scheme.

However the mayor mentioned the scheme was by no means about elevating income and he would at all times look to guard jobs and enterprise from any clean-air plans, which have been mandated by central authorities.

At a press convention Mr Burnham mentioned he, and different council leaders, “had listened” and the present plans have been a “considerably totally different” pathway to wash air.

By the rising use of electrical automobiles and by concentrating on changing to electrical buses and different measures, reporters have been informed the clear air targets set for 2026 might be met with out charging some highway customers.

The zone will nonetheless be used, together with cameras, to observe air pollution and determine site visitors travelling by the area and to determine these native automobiles which may qualify for cash to transform to electrical.

Mr Burnham mentioned the change in plans was not a climbdown and GMCA had modified its plans as a result of they might not work post-pandemic and a clear air zone was now potential with out charging for highway use.

He added: “I don’t see how you can presumably name {that a} climbdown.

“It’s been a journey.

“It’s not a few climbdown.

“It by no means was invented right here.

“We have been required to behave inside a really strict framework.

“A plan agreed pre-pandemic was not going to work within the post-pandemic time.

“We’ve negotiated the place that permits for a non-charging zone.

“So what we’ve tried to do all through that is make it manageable for our residents and for our companies.”

Councillor Andrew Western, lead for Clear Air within the area added: “We might be negotiating with, asking them to simply accept the precept of non-charging.

“If it’s not accepted, that may be a authorities determination to not settle for that.

“We could properly probably be asking for extra funding.”

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