Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone – A Tax By Any Other Name

Tonight, the Council was briefed on Clean Air in Bolton and Greater Manchester. It was suggested by officers that a charge be implemented for driving through Bolton, Manchester or even both. One price that was given for a possible charge was £10 per day.

The idea was that this would “encourage” people to sell their older cars and buy new ones, which would apparently not be subject to the charge.

I argued that not only would this charge disproportionately hurt the poor (because they won’t be able to buy new cars) but it also does not address the actual problem. The most pollution that cars cause comes from their original production – and all the rare, heavy metals used in modern cars are very polluting to mine, refine and construct into parts.

But those pollutants are mostly not emitted in the UK, they happen abroad; where the elements are mined and refined. So this charge will not help, it will just move the pollution out of Britain and into developing countries. I cannot support that.

This is a tax, and it’s a tax that will not achieve its purposes. It’s wholly wrong.