April 21, 2020
It has recently been confirmed that the statutory consultation planned for this summer as part of the ongoing process to implement Manchester’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) implementation has been postponed due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
With local authorities in the area working around the clock to coordinate relief efforts, combined with the restrictions currently in place while the UK is under lockdown, the delay has been said to have been unavoidable. Councellor Andrew Weston, working for Greater Manchester Green region, explained: “These are exceptional times that are impacting on all areas of life. Unfortunately, we need to postpone the Clean Air Plan consultation until the restrictions on all our daily lives have been lifted and we better understand the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in Greater Manchester”.
He concluded: “Work is under way to understand the local impacts of the pandemic. Whilst the government has made a number of financial packages available to businesses and the self-employed in this extraordinary situation, our residents and businesses are rightly focused on ensuring that they and their families and employees stay safe.”
An Uncertain Future
Manchester has been one of the most progressive areas in the country in its efforts to improve its carbon footprint thus far, and officials say that they are as devoted as ever in taking steps to become a greener city. However, as in all areas of industry across the region there is a great level of uncertainty over just how the economy will be impacted by the crisis. The transport sector has already been greatly affected, which might mean financial support is required to those who would have been most impacted by the policy before work can be done to progress as per the initial Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan.
Joanna Lane, Senior Stakeholder Engagement Officer for Transport for Greater Manchester stated: “Over the coming weeks and months, work will continue to assess the impact of travel changes on the pollution measured by the real-time air quality analysers across Greater Manchester.
This will help inform how changing travel behaviour – and reducing the amount of traffic on our roads in the long term – can positively impact our air quality, improve residents’ health, and help meet Greater Manchester’s ambition to become a carbon-neutral city-region.”