Local MP, Robert Largan, has written to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, about the effect of the planned Clean Air Zone on the ability of local businesses to continue trading.
This comes as part of Mr Largan’s cross-party campaign to push the Mayor to do more to support local businesses hit by the costs of the forthcoming Clean Air Zone. The campaign has received support from Members of Parliament from across the region, and the Leader of High Peak Borough Council, Cllr Anthony McKeown.
The Clean Air Zone is due to come into force on 30 May 2022, and covers the whole of the Greater Manchester area.
From this date, heavy goods vehicles which have a Euro 5 standard engine or earlier will be subject to a daily charge of £60.00 when travelling in or through Greater Manchester.
Coaches will also be subject to a £60.00 daily charge; taxis and private hire vehicles a £7.50 daily charge; and light goods vehicles a £10.00 daily charge.
To mitigate the impact this will have on businesses and the wider public, the Government established the £132 million Clean Air Fund to support those businesses and individuals least able to adapt to the new charging regime.
The Department for Transport stipulated that the Mayor of Greater Manchester was responsible for the local implementation of the Fund, including its eligibility criteria.
Businesses registered outside of the Greater Manchester area have been abjectly excluded by the Mayor of Greater Manchester from the Clean Air Fund.
High Peak MP, Robert Largan, has been contacted by many local businesses that operate daily in Greater Manchester, and which are concerned about the punitive cost of the Clean Air Zone to their businesses, both due to the uncertain conditions caused by the pandemic, and the anti-competitive advantage the Clean Air Fund will give to businesses within the Greater Manchester area boundary.
Mr Largan has written to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, together with Members of Parliament from across the region, to call on the Mayor to change the eligibility criteria for the Clean Air Fund, and ensure a level playing field for business.
The Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, Andy Carter MP, Antony Higginbotham MP, Jason McCartney MP, and the Rt Hon Esther McVey MP have all signed the letter.
In a separate letter to the Mayor, signed by the Leader of High Peak Borough Council, Cllr Anthony McKeown, the local MP has raised concerns about the impact of the Clean Air Zone on businesses based in High Peak.
In particular, the pair raised concerns about the impact on local bus companies operating between High Peak and Greater Manchester.
Robert Largan, MP for High Peak, commented:
“I’m really concerned that the Mayor of Greater Manchester has not made High Peak businesses eligible for hardship support from the Clean Air Fund.
“Excluding businesses outside of Greater Manchester from support could lead to job losses across the region.
“Since being elected, I have always been committed to putting the people of High Peak ahead of party politics. I warmly welcome the cross-party support for this campaign, and I hope that, together, we can persuade the Mayor to change his mind and urgently extend the eligibility criteria to help High Peak businesses.”