Have your say on Clean Air Zone plans and taxi standards

Thursday, October 15th, 2020 8:51am

By Alice Richardson, Local Democracy Reporter @alice_rReach

Major plans to clean up Greater Manchester's air have been put forward – and people can now have their say on them.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has been instructed by central government to put a Clean Air Zone in place across the city-region to reduce air pollution.

The plans are expected to launch in Spring 2022 and include daily charges, exemptions, discounts and a request for more central government funding to support local businesses in buying newer, cleaner vehicles.

People and businesses across Greater Manchester can now take part in a consultation on the proposals, which is running until midnight on Thursday December 3 2020.

The Government has directed Greater Manchester to bring nitrogen dioxide levels on local roads within legal limits in the shortest time possible.

The clean air consultation is asking for views on the Zone’s proposed boundary, the level of daily charges, possible discounts and exemptions and more.

The government has already awarded Greater Manchester £41m of initial funding, but leaders are seeking more than £100m alongside a £10m ‘Hardship fund’ to support those considered most vulnerable to the financial impacts of the Clean Air Zone.

The purpose of the Zone is to improve air quality by encouraging drivers to upgrade to a cleaner vehicle.

Non-compliant vehicles would start paying the proposed daily charge when the Zone launches with the exception of vans and minibuses, which will start paying in 2023.

Trafford council leader, Coun Andrew Western, Green City-region lead, said: “The post-lockdown recovery is extremely important to Trafford and the rest of Greater Manchester and our Clean Air Plan plays an important role in this.

“It is vital that we give our commercial vehicles, bus operators, hackney carriage and private hire drivers access to funding to move to a more modern, cleaner fleet that will help us all.

“It is important that we make Trafford and our city-region a cleaner, greener place for the future. This plan will impact all of our lives, so let’s clean up our air, roads and communities together.”

Another consultation on proposed Greater Manchester Minimum Licensing Standards (MLS) for taxis and private hire vehicles is running in parallel to the Clean Air Plan one, ‘to ensure as much certainty and clarity as possible for the
trade on any proposed changes required to their vehicles’.

Trafford council, supported by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), says it wants to see taxi and private hire services deliver a safe and high-quality experience for everyone, using vehicles that meet high environmental standards.

The proposed standards, which would cover drivers, operators and vehicles, are designed to make sure every journey is safer, reliable and help secure their long-term future.

Sara Todd, chief executive of Trafford council and Greater Manchester chief officer lead on taxis and private hire, said: “We all know the importance of taxis and private hire vehicles and how they play a crucial role in keeping Trafford and the rest of Greater Manchester moving day in, day out.

“At the moment there are different standards for taxi and private hire services across Greater Manchester and we have worked with the trade to develop a proposed set of minimum standards for all services licensed locally.

“This will, of course, help ensure that all journeys are safe and reliable.
Please take part in the consultation – we want the views of everyone to be heard so that we can make sure we get this right.”

Coun Stephen Adshead, Trafford council’s executive member for the environment, said: “We want Trafford to be clean, green safe and ultimately carbon neutral. The council is passionate in its support for the clean air proposals and minimum standards for all taxi services licensed.

“I would urge everyone to take part in both the Greater Manchester consultations and Trafford council’s own consultation to do their bit to shape the green future of the borough of Trafford and the rest of Greater Manchester.”

Transport for Greater Manchester is co-ordinating the Clean Air and MLS consultations on behalf of the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities. The findings from the consultation will be used to inform the final proposals next year.

For more information and to have your say on the Clean Air Zone plans, click here: https://cleanairgm.com/clean-air-zone/.

For more information and to have your say on the minimum licensing standards for taxis, click here: https://www.gmtaxistandards.com/consultation/.

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