100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
Newcastle Clean Air Zone tolls postponed as businesses express 'huge relief' at delay to £50-a-day pollution charge
Daily charges for high-polluting vehicles coming into the city centre were due to start in July, but have been put…
Downing Street was like 'last days of Rome' during lockdown, Andy Burnham says
The Labour mayor responded to the new Partygate fines live on air
Delay to Newcastle Clean Air Zone tolls was inevitable – but the pollution crisis isn't going away
Plans to charge some of the highest-polluting vehicles up to £50 per day to drive into Newcastle city centre have…
Andy Burnham calls for nationalisation of railways as he backs union campaign
The Labour mayor said privatisation of public transport has 'failed'
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Walking and cycling projects in Greater Manchester get £13m boost - exactly how the cash will be spent
The city region will also get a share of £1.5m to explore creating 'mini-Holland' cycling schemes
Defiant message from Andy Burnham as Rotala launches new fight against bus reform
The mayor insists he will still bring buses back under public control
Get all your news in one place
Latest National news:
First whales make trails off Hunter's coastline
About 40,000 humpback whales are set to make their annual migration through the winter months from Antarctica to warmer northern…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Canberra Times launches new commenting platform
We have listened to your feedback about our website's comment platform and have made it a whole lot easier for…
Milford to make Knights debut against former club Brisbane
The former Broncos playmaker has been named to start for the Knights.
Scott Morrison softens language on minimum wage rise amid pressure on cost of living
PM previously called Anthony Albanese a ‘loose unit’ for backing $1 an hour rise to minimum wage, saying it would…
Australia federal election 2022 live: Albanese pressed on Labor costings ahead of Thursday announcement; 66 Covid deaths
Follow all the day’s news live
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
'Clothes will burn': Ex-legal service worker tried to cover up 'degrading' assault
The former Aboriginal Legal Service worker has pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Record number of COVID patients in hospital, another death
The ACT recorded 1129 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to Monday 8pm.

Andy Burnham sets 'red line' on Clean Air Zone talks as he denies 'climb down'

By Joseph Timan

Andy Burnham has set out his 'red line' as Greater Manchester goes into negotiations with the government over the revised Clean Air Zone plans. The Labour mayor said local leaders will not accept a charging Clean Air Zone, calling for cash incentives instead – but he dismissed claims of a 'climb down'.

It comes after the controversial scheme remains under review with seven weeks left for the city-region to agree a new proposal with the government. But the fast-approaching deadline of July means the public may not be consulted on the revised Clean Air Zone proposal until after it is agreed.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday (May 13), Mr Burnham set out Greater Manchester's 'red line' ahead of negotiations with the government. He said: "We will not accept a charging Clean Air Zone in Greater Manchester. If that is what the government wants, it will have to impose it on us."

READ MORE: Downing Street was like 'last days of Rome' during lockdown, Andy Burnham says

Mr Burnham will now write to all Greater Manchester MPs, asking them to support this position and calling on Conservatives to stop 'playing politics'. The mayor criticised his opponents of spreading 'misinformation' about the Clean Air Zone and who is responsible for it ahead of the recent local elections.

However, he denied his latest position on the Clean Air Zone is a 'climb down'. He said: "I personally don't see how you can possibly call it a climb down. We had to agree a plan with the government pre-pandemic. We didn't have a choice. We had to agree a plan with them and we did, working in good faith.

"But a plan agreed pre-pandemic clearly was not going to work post-pandemic and we were the ones who blew the whistle on that – not the government. [We] went back to the government and said the position isn't workable and we've negotiated the position that allows for a non-charging zone."

What do you think? Have your say in our comments below.

Greater Manchester's Clean Air Zone, which was set to start charging certain vehicles from May 30, was paused following a public backlash earlier this year. Local authority leaders asked the government to delay the deadline by which councils had to bring air pollution down below legal limits from 2024 to 2026.

It comes after research found that supply chain issues in the vehicle market caused by Covid meant the cost of new vans had increased by up to 60 pc. Mr Burnham said no charges would be needed if the deadline was extended by two years – but he claims the government only offered a one year delay at first.

Together with the nine Labour leaders in Greater Manchester, the mayor wrote to the Prime Minister after the two-year delay was agreed, calling for all CAZ charges to be scrapped – and this had the backing of Bolton's Tory leader too. But writing back eight weeks later, Boris Johnson did not rule out charges.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Trafford council leader Andrew Western (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) must now present evidence to the government that air quality compliance can be achieved without any charges. Instead, the mayor is arguing for a non-charging Category B scheme which would identify the non-compliant buses, lorries and taxis using Greater Manchester's roads and offer owners funding to upgrade their vehicles. Under this scheme, vans would no longer be eligible for any CAZ funding.

Trafford council leader Andrew Western said that the government would not provide funding to upgrade vehicles if it is not necessary to meet the targets. He said: "We are now in a position where we believe we can achieve compliance without vans being included in that and that's why they're out the scheme moving forward."

Coun Western, who has this week put himself forward to become a Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston, said he would be writing to the Secretary of State together with Mr Burnham to set out Greater Manchester's general position. He promised there will be a 'range of work' to engage with the public - and in particular people who would be affected - on the practicalities of the proposal.

However, Mr Burnham said a 'meaningful' consultation may not take place until after the general terms of the new scheme are agreed with the government. He added: "It may not take to July. If the government agree with us, they could write back to me next week and say, we agree, let's consult on it. The ball is not only in our court and we've always got to work through the government."

The mayor said all of the Clean Air Zone infrastructure will be 'switched off' when air quality compliance is achieved and the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras could be given to Greater Manchester Police.

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
Newcastle Clean Air Zone tolls postponed as businesses express 'huge relief' at delay to £50-a-day pollution charge
Daily charges for high-polluting vehicles coming into the city centre were due to start in July, but have been put…
Downing Street was like 'last days of Rome' during lockdown, Andy Burnham says
The Labour mayor responded to the new Partygate fines live on air
Delay to Newcastle Clean Air Zone tolls was inevitable – but the pollution crisis isn't going away
Plans to charge some of the highest-polluting vehicles up to £50 per day to drive into Newcastle city centre have…
Andy Burnham calls for nationalisation of railways as he backs union campaign
The Labour mayor said privatisation of public transport has 'failed'
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Walking and cycling projects in Greater Manchester get £13m boost - exactly how the cash will be spent
The city region will also get a share of £1.5m to explore creating 'mini-Holland' cycling schemes
Defiant message from Andy Burnham as Rotala launches new fight against bus reform
The mayor insists he will still bring buses back under public control
Get all your news in one place