Clean air plan for Greater Manchester published

Greater Manchester has published its final clean air plan to kick-start the city region's green revolution, helping to tackle the problem of air pollution.

The region has secured over £120 million in government funding to support local businesses upgrade to cleaner, compliant vehicles so they can travel in a GM-wide Clean Air Zone without incurring a daily charge. Applications for funding support will open from November this year.

GM-registered taxi/private hire owners and LGV owners will be given more time, money and options to upgrade. Vans, minibuses, GM-registered coaches and wheelchair-accessible taxis were already exempt from daily charges until 2023.

The city region also announced that bike-share company Beryl has been selected as the delivery partner to design, install and operate a 24/7, public cycle hire scheme made up of an initial 1,500 bikes and e-bikes at over 200 new cycle hire docking stations across Manchester, Trafford and Salford.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester were the pioneers of the industrial revolution, now we are leading a green revolution, backed with over £120 million that we’ve secured to hand over to businesses to support making their vehicles compliant.

“We listened hard to what business owners wanted and, as a result, taxi drivers are being given more time, more funding and more options. This is part of our wider commitment to put GM-licensed hackney and private hire drivers first, and to lobby government to give us the powers to ensure that only locally licensed drivers are able to operate here.

“The fact is that air pollution is not a problem that is going to go away on its own. Not only has our plan been directed by national government, we’ve taken this seriously and fought to get a plan which has the right funding support for residents and to protect those most vulnerable as well as our trade and businesses. This plan will also have major health and wellbeing benefits for people living near motorways or major roads as there will be less polluting vehicles and HGVs using them.

“Our Clean Air Zone is only one piece of the jigsaw. We’re also fully integrating our public transport system – the Bee Network – and building the UK’s largest cycling and walking network. Today I am also very pleased to announce that urban bike share company Beryl has been named as our delivery partner for cycle hire, with the first bikes going on the ground later this year. Our cycle hire will be one of the largest docked systems outside London and I cannot wait to use the new bikes myself as a way to get from A to B. We’re making huge strides towards our plans to build back greener and be carbon neutral by 2038.”

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The Security Event is set to be the first major exhibition to take place in the sector when it opens its doors on 7-9 September 2021 at the NEC in Birmingham and for the first time it will also encompass the National Cyber Security Show.

digitech21 will seek to demystify the increasingly complex technology landscape and will showcase a host of public sector best practice case studies and the very best solution providers, each of whom are helping organisations to transform and improve the way in which the public sector delivers services to the citizen.