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Greater Manchester begins installation of clean air zone

Landscape image of Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester has begun installing cameras and signage ahead of the launch of its clean air zone (CAZ) in May 2022.

The first of around 850 automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and 2,000 signs are being installed across the region’s highways network.

Greater Manchester has also secured more than £120m government funding to help local businesses, people and organisations to upgrade to cleaner vehicles, so they can travel in within the CAZ without incurring a daily charge.

Councillor Andrew Western, Greater Manchester lead for Clean Air, said: “It’s good to see a tremendous amount of progress being made to deliver the clean air zone, which will include local roads in all ten Greater Manchester local authority areas.

“We’re working hard to ensure we support affected vehicle owners move to cleaner vehicles, so they don’t have to pay a daily charge. While the Zone launches in May 2022, there will be local exemptions in place to give businesses and organisations more time to apply for funding.

“Our goal is to reduce harmful emissions. We want to help as many people and businesses as possible to be driving cleaner vehicles so we can all breathe cleaner air.

“Our clean vehicle funds service will launch in November and I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might be affected to get up to speed at, where they can sign up for regular updates.”

Egis has been awarded a contract to set up and operate an end-to-end service for CAZ program for the next five years.

As part of the project, Egis will be responsible for the installation and maintenance of nearly 900 ANPR cameras, a public-facing CAZ office to handle payments, discounts, exemptions, and financial reconciliation along with any Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) that are issued to non-payers of the charge.

All ten Greater Manchester local authorities have approved the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan, which includes a government directed ‘Category C’ charging CAZ.

Affected vehicles include light goods vehicles and vans, heavy goods vehicles, buses, coaches, motorhomes, hackney cabs, private hire vehicles and minibuses, but not private cars.

A public consultation on the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan proposals took place in 2020, which identified two issues that were raised in the feedback to the original consultation that now require a further consultation so that the ten local authorities can decide if they are to be included in the final plan.

A six-week consultation will take place from September 1, 2021, to October 13, 2021, on two proposed inclusions to the clean air zone.

These are including sections of the A575 and A580 at Worsley in the charging scheme and including motorcaravans within the charging scheme.

The Greater Manchester CAZ is anticipated to launch on May 30, 2022, and will operate seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Vehicles liable to pay the charge will pay using the Government’s online portal with discounts and exemptions available for some vehicle types.

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