Ruth George urges responses from High Peak to Manchester’s Clean Air plans

High Peak MP Ruth George has urged people in High Peak to have their say on Greater Manchester’s Clean Air proposals and the potential impact on residents and businesses.

Air pollution in parts of Greater Manchester is some of the worst in the country and Mayor Andy Burnham has been tasked with creating a ‘Clean Air Zone’ to reduce dangerous levels of pollutants.

The zone is proposed to cover the whole of Greater Manchester.  Cars (except for taxis and Private Hire vehicles) would be able to enter for free, but heavy vehicles that don’t meet clean engine standards, including buses and HGVs would need to pay a daily fee from 2021.  Lighter vehicles including minibuses, vans and motorhomes, would be required to pay from 2023.

Greater Manchester has bid for government funding to support the upgrading of buses and commercial vehicles.

Ruth is meeting with Transport for Greater Manchester to discuss the issues for High Peak residents and businesses and has urged them to respond to the consultation.

“As a country, we need to tackle the dangerously high levels of air pollution that are causing ill-health in both cities and towns affected by congestion.

“So it’s good that Greater Manchester is seeking to tackle its pollution, which will help the many High Peak residents who work in or visit Manchester, but it’s important that these plans don’t impact on surrounding areas such as High Peak and increase our pollution.

“We are already seeing dangerous levels of pollutants on many of our local roads, especially in Glossopdale and along the A6, so it’s important to make sure that Manchester’s plans don’t affect local bus services or increase congestion on roads outside Greater Manchester’s borders.

“Derbyshire based buses are vital for many people in High Peak to get into Manchester for work, education and training, health provision, leisure and to visit friends and family.

“I’ve discussed the issues with local bus companies and have asked Greater Manchester to enable buses which run across the border into Manchester to be able to bid for the Clean Bus Fund to upgrade our buses to the required clean engine standard.  That includes the:

  • 199 from Buxton to Manchester Airport via Stockport (High Peak buses)
  • 236/237 service from Glossop to Ashton (Stagecoach Manchester)
  • 341 from Glossop to Hyde (Stotts)
  • 358 from Hayfield to Stockport via Marple (Stagecoach Manchester)
  • 394 from Glossop to Stepping Hill Hospital (High Peak buses)

“These services are absolutely vital to my constituents but may not be viable if they are affected by the £100 per day charge.

“I’ve also asked for strategic routes into the M60 and the M60 itself to be excluded from the proposals as so many vehicles use the ring road as part of onward journeys.  We don’t want to see heavy vehicles diverting onto unsuitable minor roads around the borders of Greater Manchester, simply to avoid the daily charge.”

Ruth has also asked the Greater Manchester councils to join her in seeking extra government funding to help transport operators in neighbouring areas to Manchester to meet the standards required, as the areas around London are able to.

“We all want to see less pollution and cleaner air in our cities, but it’s important to take into account the areas around them as well.

“I’m pleased at the focus on a clean air strategy and will be working with Greater Manchester to enable their proposals to benefit High Peak as well.  That will include my proposals for better cycle routes into the city, for a station at Gamesley as I’ve been pressing for some time and helped to get into Manchester’s Strategic Transport Plan, and more frequent trains and bus services.

 “I urge anyone who may be affected to check out the website and complete the survey: https://cleanairgm.com/

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