Government agrees to delay launch of Greater Manchester's clean air zone
The Government has today granted permission to Greater Manchester authorities to delay the implementation of the scheme.
The zone, which had been due to launch on May 30, aimed to lower exhaust emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and would have seen charges for vans, minibuses, taxis and coaches.
“According to evidence provided by Greater Manchester, these impacts will make it harder for people to upgrade to cleaner vehicles, meaning the clean air zone is unlikely to deliver compliance with legal limits by the original date of 2024.
“This has led the Mayor of Greater Manchester to request more time to achieve NO2 compliance and enable Greater Manchester local authorities to review their NO2 plan.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice has now agreed to allow a short delay to the implementation of the clean air zone.
This will allow Greater Manchester authorities to provide further evidence and a revised plan by July setting out how it will deliver legal levels of NO2 as soon as possible.
In a joint statement, Jo Churchill, parliamentary under-secretary of state at Defra, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Coun Andrew Western, GMCA portfolio lead for clean air, said: "We met last week and have had further robust and constructive discussions today to find a solution.
"Air quality is one of our biggest health challenges and we are all completely committed to tackling it.
"We have agreed to a short time-limited pause. We will work together to deliver, by the middle of the year, a plan for clean air for Greater Manchester, one that is fair to the businesses and residents of the city-region.
"We will deliver improved air quality as soon as possible, not losing ambition but ensuring we take into account the pandemic, global supply chain challenges, improvements already baked into retrofits and the scope as previously laid out.
"We will now work jointly to meet the Greater Manchester and Government requirements on clean air, as soon as possible, and no later than 2026."
The delay will be welcome news to many, with taxi drivers and horse riders among those protesting in Wigan and across Greater Manchester in recent weeks.
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