A Clean Air Zone is set to be introduced across Greater Manchester from May 30th in a move to reduce air pollution in the region.
The controversial plan would see commercial and passenger vehicles deemed to be “most polluting” having to pay a daily charge to travel in the Zone.
It’s hoped the plan wil help to reduce nitrogen dioxide air pollution – which is currently linked to around 1,200 deaths a year in Greater Manchester – to within legal limits.
But serious concerns have been raised about it, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described the plan as “completely unworkable”.
A petition to stop the plan has now garnered 50,000 signatures, but Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, is in favour of the new regulations arguing “we’ll all benefit from clean air”.
Taxi drivers and small business owners, meanwhile, have complained that the additional charges could kill their business.
But what will the Clean Air Zone actually mean, for Altrincham and the whole Greater Manchester region? Here’s everything you need to know…
What area will it cover?
The zone will cover all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester, including Trafford.
It includes all local roads, with the exception of motorways and major trunk roads which are managed by National Highways.
When will it operate?
The Clean Air Zone will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year.
Signs will be installed to show when drivers are entering the Zone.
What will vehicles be charged from May 30th 2022?
Under the current plans:
- Heavy goods vehicles: £60
- Buses: £60
- Coaches: £60 (owners of vehicles not used on a registered bus service will be able to apply for a temporary exemption until 1 June 2023)
- Vans/light goods vehicles: £10 (from June 1st 2023)
- Minibuses: £10 (from June 1st 2023)
- Hackney cabs and private hire vehicles: £7.50 from May 30th 2022 (temporary exemption for most Greater Manchester-licensed vehicles until June 1st 2023)
- Motorhomes/campervans: The daily charge and date of introduction will depend on the tax class of the vehicle.
Will car drivers be affected?
Private cars, motorbikes and mopeds will not be affected.
Some vehicles – including historic vehicles, military vehicles, disabled passenger vehicles, and specialist emergency service vehicles – are also exempt from the daily charge.
How do you pay?
There will be a single charge imposed per non-compliant vehicle, per day, running from midnight to midnight. A vehicle can drive an unlimited amount within the Zone in that 24-hour period.
Charges will be enforced via a network of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, and paid via a central government payment portal.
What penalties will non-payers face?
If the daily charge is not paid there will be a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £120 in addition to the unpaid daily charge. This would be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.
What financial schemes are available for owners of non-compiant vehicles?
Government funding is available to help eligible people, businesses and organisations either replace or retrofit non-compliant vehicles in order for them to meet emissions standards.
The Clean Air Financial Support Scheme is currently open to applications – you can check whether you are eligible to apply for funding here.