More than £150 million of funding has been made available to businesses across Greater Manchester to assist in upgrading their current vehicles to cleaner alternatives as part of the ‘Clean Air Greater Manchester plan’.
Starting from 2022, certain vehicles, such as vans, lorries, and buses, could face daily charges of up to £60 to operate in Greater Manchester if they do not meet emission requirements.
The plan aims to create a ‘clean air-zone’ that encompasses the whole of Greater Manchester, and does not affect private cars, motorbikes or mopeds. The zone would operate 24/7, and does not apply to motorways or major trunk roads operated by Highways England.
Salford is particularly affected by pollution: according to Public Health England in 2018, Salford had the highest percentage of deaths attributed to the issue in Greater Manchester, and the third highest in the North West, behind only Knowsley and Liverpool.
Nonetheless, Salford has remained opposed to the idea of a congestion charge in the past, voting against it in 2008 when Greater Manchester as a whole rejected the proposal.
Further exemptions and discounts to the charges are being considered: taxis would face daily charges of only £7.50. Vans and minibuses would face the same reduced charge, however would also be fully exempt until 2023 if not used for private hire.
If eligible, businesses could decide to receive funding either as a lump sum or as part of a financing scheme, depending on which option would suit them best.
Additionally, Clean Air Greater Manchester have set up a consultation lasting until Thursday 3rd December in order to receive feedback from the community to help further shape and refine their plan as to meet the public’s expectations of the initiative.
More information on the government funding, as well as the consultation survey can be found on the Clean Air Greater Manchester website: https://cleanairgm.com/