Trafford Conservatives have submitted a motion to the January 2022 Trafford Council meeting, asking for the roll-out of the Clean Air Zone to be suspended. The motion also requests that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) establish a Joint Scrutiny Committee, consisting of elected members from across Greater Manchester to be established to initiate an independent investigation into the Greater Manchester Clean Air Final Plan. That Committee would scrutinise the findings of the investigation before they are then considered by the GMCA and the ten Greater Manchester districts.
The Clean Air Plan which the motion is concerned with would see a 493sqm charging zone introduced across all Greater Manchester districts and would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Clean Air Zone created through the plan would see vans, buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses and heavy goods vehicles that do not meet emission standards paying a daily charge to travel in the Zone.
Trafford Conservatives have had concerns over the Plan since it first began to emerge, particularly due to the scale of the proposed charging zone and the impact of the charges on small businesses. As the signage for the Plan started to emerge on roads across Greater Manchester and more residents and business owners became aware of the Plan, it became clear that The Plan produced was unworkable and couldn’t deliver its stated aims of clean air.
Trafford Conservatives had also asked for the approval of the Plan by Trafford Council to be subject to further scrutiny, but the Labour Chair of Scrutiny Committee, who decides on whether or not to agree to further scrutiny of the decision, turned down the request to even consider it.
Commenting on the motion to Council, Cllr. Nathan Evans, Leader of the Opposition at Trafford Council said “It’s clear there are huge problems with the unworkable plan but the announcement to ‘pause the funding for LGVs’ is just ‘re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Trafford Conservatives are disappointed that the Plan hasn’t been scrapped or significantly scaled back. It is increasingly clear that the pre-Covid conceived plan will not deliver for the residents of Greater Manchester and will adversely impact tens of thousands of hard-working residents. It’s time that the Plan is suspended until an investigation has been concluded and its outcome considered by Trafford Council and the other Greater Manchester districts.”