Manchester clean air zone plan “unjust and discriminatory”

Manchester, UK: The Road Haulage Association has hit out at the latest statement issued by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority regarding Manchester’s Clean Air Zone, branding it “unjust and discriminatory”.

Due to vehicle supply problems, the GCMA has stated its intention to delay plans to charge vans and Manchester-based taxis entering the CAZ, but “buses, HGVs and non-Greater Manchester taxi and private hire vehicles” will continue to be charged from May 2022.

In addition, during a phone-in on BBC Radio Manchester on 13 January, RHA member, Lance Bromley, director of HTF Transport, challenged Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, who had incorrectly claimed that lorry operators could retrofit their vehicles.

Reacting, Chris Ashley, RHA policy lead on the environment, said: “Manchester’s CAZ plans are rapidly descending into farce and demonstrates a wholesale lack of understanding of how vehicles are replaced.”

“The vehicle supply shortage has also bedevilled hauliers, and it is incorrect to imply that lorry operators can retrofit all their vehicles. It is unjust and discriminatory that the haulage sector is being singled out for these punitive measures.

“We all want clean air, and alternative solutions exist to achieve it. We ask the Mayor to stop dogmatically sticking to a deeply-flawed policy, and join others in calling for the CAZ to be delayed and the evidence-base to be re-evaluated.”

The RHA will raise its concerns and propose solutions, such as reducing the size of the CAZ, with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) over the coming week.

Councillor Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council and the city-region’s Clean Air Lead, said: “We are committed to cleaning up our air and the first phase of the Clean Air Zone from May 2022 will take the oldest and most polluting buses, HGVs and non-Greater Manchester-licensed taxi and private hire Vehicles off Greater Manchester’s roads. We want to encourage those businesses and individuals affected by this first stage to come forward to find out about the support available to them.”

Burnham said: “Our Committee will be asked to call on the Secretary of State to undertake an urgent and fundamental review of the policy for the second phase of the Clean Air Zone and to put on hold the next phase of funding – which was due to open at the end of January for vans, taxis and private hire Vehicles – until that review is done.

“We will work with ministers and officials to share our findings, but these are matters out of our control and we can’t solve this in Greater Manchester – only government can.”

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