The Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone has been postponed until July after it came under heavy criticism, and we want to hear your thoughts on how the situation has evolved.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham announced the delay at a press conference this afternoon (4 February), as Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the CAZ “completely unenforceable”.
With the ongoing program shutdown and potential changes on the horizon, we want to hear what you have to say in our comments section.
READ MORE: The 23-year-old hairdresser led a secret double life as a debt collector for her drug-dealing boyfriend – but was spared jail after the judge ruled she was the victim of a ‘corrosive relationship’
The scheme caused an outcry among many, with taxi drivers staging more protests in Eccles and by the Etihad Stadium after those in Bolton and Rochdale.
The first phase of CAZ was originally scheduled for May and would have seen trucks, buses and coaches charged at £60 a day to travel in or around Greater Manchester.
Taxi drivers would then have been hit a year later by the second phase of the plan, with charges of £7.50 a day for their vehicles and £10 a day for vans.
Funding of £120m has been allocated to help upgrade and get new vehicles to air pollution standards, but some businesses and drivers said it would not be enough to cover the costs.
Have your say on the CAZ in the comments section.
Announcing the delay, Mr Burnham said: “It was clear to me that a CAZ designed before the pandemic would not work after the pandemic.
“We have reached an agreement with the government to remove the management [to improve air standards to a certain level by 2024] and move the end date to 2026.”
A joint statement from Mr Burnham and Trafford Council Leader Andrew Western, who has taken over as Air Quality Lead for Greater Manchester, said: ‘We have agreed to a limited short break in the time.
“We will work together to deliver, by the middle of the year, a clean air plan for Greater Manchester, one that is fair to businesses and residents of the city-region.”
The Prime Minister slammed the scheme during a trip to Middleton yesterday (3 February), saying: ‘They are good in the sense that you need ways to cut emissions, but if you want to do something like a zone fresh air, you have to time it well.
“Our view is that the way he is being framed at the moment in Greater Manchester doesn’t get the balance right. We think that will be economically damaging and we think an alternative model needs to be explored.”
Mr Burnham has vowed to end CAZ ‘at the minute we can’, but concerns remain over the scheme. If you think there needs to be changes, or are in favor of the program, we’d love to hear from you in our comments section.