Greater Manchester is to introduce a Clean Air Zone to tackle city pollution levels in 2021.
The council was originally planning to introduce the Clean Air Zone two phases from 2021 and 2023 but government has ordered that this be pushed forward.
Pushing the scheme forward by two years will puts a strain on the logistics sector – particularly small businesses, the Freight Transport Association has warned.
“Allowing only 18 months in which Manchester’s van operators must become compliant before the introduction of the authority’s Clean Air Zone is simply an additional tax on the area’s small businesses,” said head of policy for Northern England, Mags Simpson.
“The original proposals placed before government allowed time for vehicles to be replaced or upgraded but the new plan outlined today will force operators into acquiring costly new vehicles ahead of their standard replacement cycle or into a regime of punitive daily charges,” she said.
“It is essential that an air quality scheme for Greater Manchester is developed with the needs of businesses that serve the area in mind, not one which drives up operating costs for small businesses and unfairly penalises the hardworking individuals and businesses which keep Greater Manchester’s economy thriving.”