Fleet News

Manchester rejects congestion charge

Manchester residents have voted overwhelmingly not to endorse plans for a congestion charge in the city.

Over £2.7 billion worth of public transport funding depended on a ‘yes’ vote.

This funding, the majority of which would have come from central government under its Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), will now not be allocated, leaving Manchester with no funds to improve its transport infrastructure.

According to the returning officer, 1,033,000 out of 1.9 million voters eligible to take part voted in the referendum on what would have been Britain's biggest congestion charging zone.

All 10 Manchester boroughs saw voters reject the scheme in what will be a major blow to the government’s plans to use local transport initiatives to test road charging outside of the capital.

The proposed scheme involved charging drivers up to £5 a day to pass through cordons leading into and out of the city centre.

It differs from London’s congestion charge zone in that not only was it to be cheaper, but also that charges would have been payable only during the rush hours rather than all day.

However, even with these apparent concessions and the threat of losing the billions of pounds of transport investment, the massive vote against the charge means it is unlikely Manchester will look at congestion charging for many years if ever.

The vote comes just days after the major of London, Boris Johnson, confirmed he is abolishing the western extension to London’s congestion zone, after a public consultation showed the majority of residents there opposed it.

Following the voters’ rejection of the Manchester scheme, the future of congestion charging hangs in the balance in other cities planning to apply for TIF funding.

Leeds, Cambridge, Bristol and Reading are all considering congestion charging and will be reassessing their approach following Manchester's decision.





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