Manchester delays clean air zone

Manchester, UK: The planned clean air zone, covering 10 areas of Greater Manchester, is on hold until 2022.

It would have been the biggest clean air zone in the UK to tackle air pollution but the coronavirus pandemic has forced a delay. Leeds, Birmingham and Bath have also delayed planned low emission zones blaming coronavirus pandemic.

Manchester’s plan would have seen trucks, buses and taxis charged to enter the zone if they did not meet nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions standards.

Andrew Western, the leader of Trafford council, said the authority was asking the government for £166m, including £98m for a clean commercial vehicle fund and £10m to help sole traders most affected by the shift to cleaner vehicles. Only £41m had so far been received.

Bath has delayed until 2021 at the earliest, while Leeds said its measures to cut levels of NO2 from traffic, due to start in September, would be put back “until further notice”. Oxford is also delaying its zero emission zone.

Other cities where clean air zones are planned to bring air pollution to within legal limits are Southampton, Derby – which is opting for traffic management, not charging – and Bristol. Bristol has proposed the most radical policy, voting to totally ban all privately owned diesel vehicles from the city centre during the day. The scheme is due to start in 2021.

London has already introduced an ultra-low emissions zone in the city centre, which is due to be expanded to the North and South Circular roads in 2021.

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