Manchester’s mayor is considering introducing a clean air zone to fulfil a Government demand to improve air quality in the English city.
Andy Burnham’s plans would penalise operators of buses, coaches, taxis, lorries and vans, as well as some private cars registered outside the area.
The Guardian reports that Burnham insists the CAZ should not be confused with a congestion charge, an idea rejected in a referendum a decade ago.
“I want to stress two things as emphatically as I can,” he’s quoted as saying. “Firstly, this is not a charge to use the roads – a congestion charge – but instead a penalty scheme for non-compliant vehicles. People with a compliant vehicle would have no fine to pay. Second, this proposal would not apply to private cars registered in Greater Manchester 80% of which are already compliant. We believe that restrictions on the remaining 20% would be neither progressive nor proportionate.”
The Guardian’s report adds that the air quality in parts of the region already breaches legal limits, with one primary school unable to open windows because the pollution is at such a dangerous level.
Leeds is currently working on introducing a clean air zone, swiftly followed by Birmingham and Southampton.