Birmingham: Head of Clean Air Zone 'optimistic' about success
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Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is set to launch at the end of May as a way to lower emissions levels in the area by charging the most-polluting vehicles. The first phase is due to launch on May 30, 2022, with buses, HGVs and coaches being charged £60 per day to travel into the area.
Taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses and vans are set to be charged £10 per day from June 1, 2023, with a temporary exemption for most Greater Manchester-licensed vehicles.
Greater Manchester clean air leaders have formally confirmed their intention to call on the central Government to review the impact of vehicle supply chain issues on the GM Clean Air Plan.
Representatives from Greater Manchester’s 10 councils have issued a letter to the Environment Secretary George Eustice requesting he pause the second phase of funding.
They have called on the Government to conduct a fundamental review into the issues with the supply chain and how that has slowed plans to introduce more compliant vehicles.
With global supply chain issues and a continuing shortage of semiconductors, it has been more difficult for CAZ-compliant vehicles to be shipped to the UK.
This has also seen the price of used vehicles increase massively, making them unattainable for many drivers.
Chris Green, Conservative MP for Bolton West, has slammed the planned rollout of the Clean Air Zone, saying it will be the “last straw for businesses which survived the pandemic”.
He said: “Back in 2008, the Congestion Charge was seen as an unwelcome tax that would disproportionately hit the poor and small businesses and every borough in Greater Manchester overwhelmingly rejected it in a referendum.
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“It would have been bad for business and most people who need to drive a car.
“Unfortunately, local political leaders across Greater Manchester have resurrected the spirit of that tax and brought it back as the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone.
“We all want cleaner air but many other cities have decided to approach the problem in different ways.
“The Clean Air Zone details have been led by the local political leaders, is radically different from anywhere else in the country such as Birmingham and Liverpool, and affected businesses are not going to be fully compensated.
“I have campaigned against this deal since the details were first published and was shocked when it was approved.
“The financial burden on businesses was already too high and this will bankrupt some that have survived the pandemic.”
“It is not too late to pause and radically change the plan to one that could be acceptable,” he told the Leigh Journal.
Ben Richardson, CEO of greentech company SulNOx, suggested that everyone should be doing more to cut down on pollution rates.
He said: “The UK has been set stringent targets for reducing emissions by 2030 and it is clear that meeting these targets will be an enormous challenge.
“It is vital everybody in the UK – Governments, councils, businesses and individuals – takes what action they can to reduce emissions and improve the quality of the air we breathe.
“And there are small things that people can do which add up to a huge contribution.
“By taking what is a relatively simple step, such as adding SulNOx to your fuel when you fill up, you could make a significant difference.”
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