Local leaders call for Clean Air Zone funding shakeup

Greater Manchester has asked government to pause the rollout of funding designed to help firms prepare for the forthcoming Clean Air Zone, due to concerns over the global supply of compliant vans.

Posted on 27 January 2022

Greater Manchester has asked government to pause the rollout of funding designed to help firms prepare for the forthcoming Clean Air Zone, due to concerns over the global supply of compliant vans.

Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone, due to launch in May 2022, will place a daily penalty on several types of non-compliant vehicles within the city region in an effort to tackle illegal air quality levels. Non-compliant HGVs will be charged £60 per day starting 30 May 2022, while vans are due to be charged £10 per day starting June 2023.

The government has provided £120 million in funding for a financial support scheme to help affected businesses, organisations and individuals to retrofit their vehicle or upgrade to a cleaner, compliant model. The first tranche of this funding, targeted at HGV owners, opened on 30 November 2021.

The second tranche of funding, targeted at van owners, was due to open by the end of January 2022. However, since the scheme was agreed in July 2021, evidence has emerged that the current availability and affordability of cleaner vehicles on the market could create more financial hardship for affected businesses than originally forecasted. 

Request to freeze funding

On 21 January, local leaders representing all ten Greater Manchester councils confirmed that they had issued a formal request to the government to freeze the rollout of further funding and urgently review the potential impacts of vehicle supply chain issues.

The hope is that the right funding arrangements can be put in place that better reflect the additional costs and vehicle availability problems that businesses are facing.

‘We are listening’

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: “Everyone in Greater Manchester deserves to breathe clean air but we have always said this cannot be at the expense of those who cannot afford to upgrade their vehicles to make them compliant in this timeframe.

“Clean air can only be achieved by the right package of financial support to help people upgrade their vehicles, and this latest evidence highlights significant challenges in this area. We are worried about what this could mean for those businesses and individuals impacted, and their ability to upgrade as well as our ability to deliver the clean air plan.

“I want to reassure all those people who have been in touch that we are listening to you, and we will make sure your voices are heard.”

Get support

Leaders have confirmed that the launch of the Clean Air Zone in May will still go ahead and the provision of funding support for HGVs will remain open.

Businesses are being urged to visit the online checker tool to find out whether their vehicles meet the required air quality standards and whether they may be eligible for financial support.

GC Business Growth Hub has also launched a new service to help businesses, sole traders and self-employed people understand their options. A dedicated enquiry team is on hand to provide advice on vehicle compliance and how to minimise the financial impact.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted under General Interest on 27 January 2022