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Manchester Steps Up Funding For Car Free Future


Greater Manchester's council leaders are demanding that the government commits extra funding to allow ambitious plans to tackle air pollution to go ahead.

The move comes as UK cities vie for first place in the race to cut emissions and clean up urban air.

Birmingham has already powered ahead with dramatic plans to take the car out of city life.

In 2019, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority submitted its Clean Air Plan outline business case to government, which included the largest proposed Clean Air Zone in the UK, a funding package for businesses to upgrade their fleets to cleaner vehicles and a bid to treble the size of the region’s electric vehicle public charging network.

However, nearly a year later, local councils say that the government has still not confirmed the financial support that will be available to help businesses upgrade their vehicles.

The only government funding committed so far has been £36M to take forward proposals for a charging Clean Air Zone, under which the most polluting commercial vehicles would pay a daily charge to travel on local roads in Greater Manchester.

Birmingham plans include limiting car journeys across the city, only allowing access from a limited number of points. The suggestion is part of a raft of measures in the Midlands city, including a workplace car parking levy, a change to council car parking strategy and an emissions charging zone, designed to improve air quality. Access to the city from the A38 ring road will be limited, the road could be rerouted and speed limits on many city streets will fall to 20mph.

The proposed Manchester Clean Air Zone would be implemented from 2021 and would initially mean that buses, coaches, HGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles that do not meet emission standards would be required to pay a daily charge to drive in Greater Manchester. Noncompliant vans would be included from 2023.

Until Greater Manchester receives confirmation on the clean vehicles funding available from government to support Greater Manchester businesses, it is unable to complete the Clean Air Plan proposals and won’t be in a position to submit the Full Business Case to government.