Manchester is set to launch its clean air zone (CAZ) on May 30, 2022, as part of its Clear Air Plan to tackle air pollution, which contributes towards 1,200 deaths per year in the city-region.
More than £120 million in Government funding has been secured to support local businesses upgrade to cleaner, compliant vehicles so they can travel in the zone without incurring a daily charge, with applications for funding support open from November this year.
Following feedback on the CAZ and impact of Covid-19, particularly on small businesses, Greater Manchester-registered taxi/private hire owners and LGV owners will be given more time, money and options to upgrade.
This includes temporary exemptions for an additional year (until May 31, 2023) for all hackney and private hire vehicles (PHV) licensed by a GM District.
Vans, minibuses, GM-registered coaches and wheelchair-accessible taxis were already exempt from daily charges until 2023.
Following negotiations with Government, GM has increased funding support per vehicle for HGVs, coaches, vans, GM Hackney cabs and PHVs.
Vans can now access up to £4,500 towards the replacement of a vehicle – £1,000 more than initially proposed – and GM Hackney Cabs can get up to £10,000.
HGVs can now get up to £12,000 towards replacement, nearly three times more than was initially offered, and coaches are now eligible for £32,000.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester were the pioneers of the industrial revolution, now we are leading a green revolution, backed with over £120 million that we’ve secured to hand over to businesses to support making their vehicles compliant.
“We listened hard to what business owners wanted and, as a result, taxi drivers are being given more time, more funding and more options. This is part of our wider commitment to put GM-licensed hackney and private hire drivers first, and to lobby Government to give us the powers to ensure that only locally licensed drivers are able to operate here.
“The fact is that air pollution is not a problem that is going to go away on its own. Not only has our plan been directed by national Government, we’ve taken this seriously and fought to get a plan which has the right funding support for residents and to protect those most vulnerable as well as our trade and businesses. This plan will also have major health and wellbeing benefits for people living near motorways or major roads as there will be less polluting vehicles and HGVs using them."
EV charging infrastructure strategy
Greater Manchester has also secured funding for more than 30 taxi-only electric vehicle (EV) charging points at strategic sites across the city-region.
There are currently around 360 publicly accessible EV charging devices in Greater Manchester with around 700 connectors.
A new Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy, to be published in July, will set out plans to give confidence in the charging network.
The city region has also announced that bike-share company Beryl has been selected as the delivery partner to design, install and operate a 24/7, public cycle hire scheme made up of an initial 1,500 bikes and e-bikes at more rthan 200 new cycle hire docking stations across Manchester, Trafford and Salford.
Burnham added: "Our cycle hire will be one of the largest docked systems outside London and I cannot wait to use the new bikes myself as a way to get from A to B. We’re making huge strides towards our plans to build back greener and be carbon neutral by 2038.”