A group of motorists held a “go-slow protest” on the M60 yesterday to highlight the upcoming charges, set to be introduced at the end of May. Manchester’s clean air zone is to be launched later this year, with many drivers already angry over the charges, with some calling on the local Government to cancel the proposed rules.
Drivers were warned to expect disruption on the M60 as vehicles were reported in convoy passing junction 19 for Middleton and Heaton Park, travelling anticlockwise.
According to the Inrix traffic monitoring system, one lane of traffic was closed and heavy traffic had been reported in the area.
Greater Manchester Police reported that around 100 vehicles were involved in the protest.
In a tweet, they said: “We’re working to minimise disruption on the M60 as a result of a go-slow protest.
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While private cars will not be charged, larger vehicles like HGVs and buses will be charged £60.
It is set to be England’s biggest CAZ, spanning 10 local authority areas across Greater Manchester including Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of Manchester and Salford.
Speaking with the BBC, one driver who attended the protest criticised the proposed changes.
Bowden Spence, from Oldham, said: “For me to get to work – there and back – will cost me £70 a week.
Thousands of drivers have also criticised the clean air zone with a petition reaching more than 32,000 signatures and prompted a response from Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.
Mr Burnham responded to the petition saying the clean air zone has been mandated by the national Government and that he had no way to prevent it from going ahead.
He added: “This said, even the Government would struggle to scrap it. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled:
“It had broken the law by failing to protect people from polluted air. And urgent action must be taken.
“This led to the Government placing legal instructions on local councils.
“One criticism of the GM scheme is its size. It’s true this is a local decision. In effect, our councils had little choice.
“The alternative – a patchwork of local zones across 10 boroughs – would be unworkable. Boundaries would constantly change as pollution was transferred.”
Other car tax zones are set to be launched this year with Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow all introducing their own emissions zones.