Plans to introduce Clean Air Zones (CAZs) in major cities including Greater Manchester have been delayed due to Coronavirus disruptions, giving businesses more time to prepare.
In Greater Manchester, a statutory consultation on its Clean Air Plan this summer has been postponed, with officials explaining that the Coronavirus pandemic may force them to re-visit some of the assumptions behind the plan.
Under the current proposals, a charging zone covering the entirety of Greater Manchester would be implemented from 2021. Conventionally-fuelled buses, coaches and HGVs typically registered before 2013 would be charged £100 per day to drive within the city region, with non-compliant vans (typically pre-2016) charged £7.50 per day from 2023.
‘Commitment has not wavered’
Cllr Andrew Western, Greater Manchester green city region lead, said: “These are exceptional times that are impacting on all areas of life. Unfortunately, we need to postpone the Clean Air Plan consultation until the restrictions on all our daily lives have been lifted and we better understand the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in Greater Manchester.
“We are mindful of the significant changes that could result from these exceptional times. The transport sector has already been impacted by the pandemic, and government policies to limit it spreading. Further thought and consideration is needed to see how we can move forward with the Clean Air Plan requirements for cleaner business fleets, in a post-pandemic environment.
“Our commitment to cleaning up Greater Manchester’s air has not wavered but these are exceptional times that require us to work flexibly and be pragmatic about how we achieve our air quality targets in these unprecedented circumstances.”
Clean air plans have also been postponed in other cities. CAZs were due to be implemented in Birmingham, Leeds and Bath later this year, but are now likely to be pushed back to the start of 2021 at the earliest. Oxford City Council has also postponed its planned Zero Emissions Zone, which was due to be introduced from December.
In London the existing congestion charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emissions Zone have been temporarily suspended to support key workers and essential deliveries.
Posted under General Interest on 22 April 2020