Friday, February 4, 2022

Leader of West Lancs Council calls on Andy Burnham to re-think Clean Air Zone plans


  • Councillor Ian Moran expresses serious concerns about impact of the green initiative on taxis, HGV drivers and local businesses
  • Leaders of Rossendale, Blackburn with Darwen, and Chorley councils pen joint letter with WLBC to Greater Manchester Mayor


The Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, Councillor Ian Moran, has written to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to express his "deep concerns" regarding the introduction of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone, which he argues will disproportionately impact businesses that border Greater Manchester.

West Lancashire Borough Council have penned a joint letter with the neighbouring councils of Rossendale, Blackburn with Darwen, and Chorley who all share borders with the Greater Manchester region. They fear that local HGV and taxi drivers will be significantly impacted by the planned introduction of the Clean Air Zone in May 2022.

The four council leaders collectively argue that little consideration has been given to neighbouring authorities impacted by the introduction of Phase 1 of the scheme. No government funding has been made available to upgrade vehicles that depend on Greater Manchester for their business and who contribute to the Greater Manchester economy.

Councillor Moran said: "Many of our local taxi drivers either live in Greater Manchester or travel between West Lancs and GM in the course of their normal work and will have to pay the charge daily unlike taxi drivers who are licensed in GM.

"This is a real worry for drivers and operators in terms of costs that could impact on their ability to stay competitive and provide the services our resident and businesses rely on. HGV transport companies, their drivers and the businesses in West Lancs that use them could also suffer."

It is understood by the Councils involved that while some Greater Manchester-based businesses will be eligible for grants towards the cost of replacing or retrofitting their vehicles so that they do not have to pay the levy, no such help is expected to be on offer for vehicle owners located just outside the zone, even if their work regularly causes them to enter it.

The four local authority leaders have requested that consideration is given to:

  • Opening up the support grant criteria to individuals/businesses if their work regularly causes them to enter Greater Manchester.
  • Looking again at the exemptions for carbon reduction adaptations.
  • Overall parity and fairness between businesses in Greater Manchester and those neighbouring authorities - this may not be possible in terms of government grant funding, but implementation timelines should not give businesses in GM an unfair competitive advantage.

Councillor Moran continued: "Addressing the climate crisis is one of our top priorities and we have given ourselves the ambitious target of being a carbon-neutral council by 2030. But we cannot stand by while our businesses pay an unfairly high penalty for actions they have no control over, particularly when they also support the economy and residents of Greater Manchester."