Greater Manchester congestion charge: Mayor Andy Burnham rejects plan

Andy Burnham Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said the air quality needs to improve

Proposals for a congestion charge in Greater Manchester to meet the government's clean air targets have been rejected by the region's mayor.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) said it was "exploring the feasibility" of a £7.50 daily charge for cars in zones in Manchester, Bolton and Bury.

It said it was looking at a "wide range of possible options and scenarios".

Mayor Andy Burnham said he has "no plans for a congestion charge" or to "punish" drivers of diesel vehicles.

The £20m scheme also proposed charging £20 for vans and £100 for lorries exceeding set emission targets to travel in the clean air zones.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The proposed clean air zones in the £20m scheme included Mancunian Way

Mr Burnham told the BBC: "I have no intention of introducing charges on the ordinary motorist.

"We need to improve the air quality in Greater Manchester but I have no plans for a congestion charge and no intention at all of punishing drivers of diesel [vehicles]."

He said the draft report was a "document that was about starting the debate - about the options".

TfGM said the draft report was "early-stage exploratory work".

It was considering the "possible impact" of any future proposals and "exploring the feasibility" of clean air zones.

The government published its draft UK Air Quality Plan on Friday aimed at improving air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels.

The UK has struggled to keep within EU limits on some pollutants, particularly NO2, which is produced by diesel engines and is linked to a range of respiratory diseases, including asthma.

Only six of the 43 regions of the UK are within NO2 limits.

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