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The Greater Manchester Air Quality Administration Committee has been recommended to write to the government to ask to delay the full implementation of the Clean Air Zone, GMCA chief executive Eamonn Boylan has confirmed in a statement.
The city-region was instructed by government in 2020 to implement plans to reduce NO2 emissions by 2024, and take action on dangerous and illegal levels of air pollution. While the current Clean Air Plan was agreed in July 2021, plans have come under criticism in recent weeks as businesses seeking to comply with the new rules have reported that inflation and global supply challenges have impacted their ability to purchase new or second-hand low-emission vehicles.
Air quality bosses from Greater Manchester will meet on 20th January to discuss a report into the progress being made on the plans, and as to whether demand for financial support from GMCA will outstrip the £120 million agreed by government — nearly £100m of funds due to open at the end of January for light goods vehicles, minibuses, coaches and taxis and private hire vehicles. Support schemes for businesses to replace or retrofit the most polluting vehicles launched at the end of 2021.
In Eamonn Boylan’s statement he confirms that the Air Quality Administration Committee will be recommended to seek approval from government to delay and amend plans for the Clear Air Zone to release funds at the end of January (for light goods vehicles and Greater Manchester-registered taxis and private hire vehicles) and review policies in light of supply chain issues and the ability of local businesses to comply. The committee will also confirm that the first phase of charging, for buses, HGVs and non-Greater Manchester taxis and private hire vehicles, will go ahead.
The GMCA Chief Executive’s statement on the Clean Air Zone is published in full on the GMCA website.