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The Government Rejects Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone

The Government Rejects Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone

You don’t need to be a genius to understand that the implementation of our old friend, a clean air zone is both complex and expensive. It’s one of those contradictory situations. Yes, we all know that reducing noxious emissions is an environmental and social imperative, but that doesn’t mean measures to clean up the air in our towns and cities are especially popular.

The development of CAZ legislation and the infrastructure involved is an immense undertaking. And it’s not cheap. Now it seems Greater Manchester’s proposals to implement a CAZ have not found universal favour with Central Government. It’s said the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but it’s always the cash that’s the final leveller. Especially re the development of a CAZ scheme.

Credit Where It’s Due
When in March 2019 GMCA put their CAZ proposal to the government, it included a request for £116m in additional funding. The cash is required to help GM businesses make the transition to CAZ compliant vehicles supported by an extensive network of charging points. Interestingly, the proposal also sought to exclude imposing the clean air levy on vans until 2023.

In parallel, GMCA started a public consultation to develop an understanding of the perceived impact a CAZ would have on GM businesses. From that point of view, it’s fair to say that there has been some effort to take the sting out of the CAZ for GM businesses and residents. Let’s give the GMCA a little credit for that.

And When They Got There
The cupboard was bare. Or maybe not as well laden as required. Environmental Minister Therese Coffey offered GM an initial £36m along with some unwelcome conditions for further funding. These include bringing forward the date for the inclusion of vans into the GM CAZ to 2021.

Further criticism of GM’s approach came from environmental lawyers ClientEarth, who highlighted the authority’s decision to exclude cars from its CAZ proposals.

In response, GM’s Green City-region lead Cllr Andrew Western commented: ‘We don’t want people who have no choice but to stick with their polluting vehicle in the short term paying a daily penalty. But, by demanding that Greater Manchester bring forward the implementation of a Clean Air Zone affecting non-compliant vans by two years, that’s exactly what the ministerial instruction would do. It’s counter-productive.’

Play Fair On Clean Air”
Naturally, the government’s response was received with some dismay. GM Mayor Andy Burnham pointed out the risks of an underfunded CAZ scheme:

‘…it would be unfair to ask Greater Manchester to do this alone and to fund the change by fines on small businesses. Taxi drivers in the city have been calling on us to “play fair on clean air”. We hear that call and want to help people switch. We don’t want to see a single job or business threatened by the process of cleaning up our air. But we can’t guarantee this without help from the government.’

What is clear is that there is plenty of water to flow under this particular CAZ bridge and the issues won’t be confined just to Manchester. There is an increasing number of other UK cities considering CAZ schemes and their requests for government funding are likely to experience the same issues.

Plan Ahead
The arguments will no doubt rage on, but the issue won’t be going away. One way or another CAZ schemes will be implemented in UK towns and cities. The best advice we can offer is to plan ahead. Make strategic investments in CAZ-friendly vehicles like Truckcraft’s TRAILAR enabled vehicles. Not only will they help you avoid emissions-related fines, but they’ll also reduce your fuel consumption and running costs too.

Best of all, with our trucks, you won’t be running around searching for a charging point which will no doubt be in use when you arrive.

For more information on our CAZ-friendly delivery trucks and vans, please contact the Truckcraft Bodies sales team on 0161 304 9404. Alternatively, email or

Published: Aug 05

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