Greater Manchester plans to fine polluting vehicles

Vehicles on Deansgate
Image caption Privately owned cars would not be affected

High-polluting buses, lorries and taxis could be fined for driving in Greater Manchester under new proposals.

The region's combined authority will vote on plans for a clean air zone that include fines of £100 per day for lorries from 2021.

Privately owned cars would not be affected, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) said.

Friends of the Earth said "all vehicle types" should be included and it is "dismayed" by the plans.

The scheme aims to bring air quality to within legal levels by reducing harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions.

GMCA said it will ask the government for £116m in loans and incentives to help businesses change to cleaner vehicles.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Currently, 90% of buses and 85% of taxis licensed in Greater Manchester do not comply

Estimates show polluted air contributes to the equivalent of 1,200 deaths a year in the region, the authority said.

The government found that 152 Greater Manchester roads are exceeding legal limits of NO2.

Details revealed in a report on Tuesday show the "daily penalty payment" for driving a high-polluting bus or lorry would be £100, and for driving a high-polluting taxi would be £7.50 from 2021.

A £7.50 per day charge for vans would be introduced from 2023.

The term "high-polluting" is defined as buses and HGVs built before 2013, diesel cars built before 2015, petrol cars built before 2005, and vans and mini buses built before 2016.

Currently, 90% of buses and 85% of taxis licensed in Greater Manchester do not comply.

Mayor Andy Burnham said including private cars in the scheme "would be a disproportionate thing to do".

"It wouldn't actually speed up the date of compliance enough to justify imposing a charge, often on some of our poorest residents", he said.

Image copyright Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Image caption Last year, GMCA published a map showing the roads with the worst pollution

But Green campaign group Friends of the Earth said clean air zones must "come into effect rapidly and must include all vehicle types".

The group said in a statement it was "dismayed that Greater Manchester will not tackle illegal levels of air pollution before 2024".

The proposals come after the government instructed more than 60 areas across the UK to consider introducing a clean air zone.

The report will be put to councillors on Friday and if approved, Greater Manchester would have the largest clean air zone outside of London by 2024.

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