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Manchester public to vote on congestion charge plans

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Manchester public to vote on congestion charge plans


Published by Anonymous for in Communities and also in Local Government

Manchester public to vote on congestion charge plans Manchester public to vote on congestion charge plans

The people of Greater Manchester will vote on whether to introduce a congestion charge in the region, council leaders ruled today.

Bosses of all 10 local authorities agreed unanimously to hold a public referendum on the issue.

The vote is likely to be held in early to mid-December.

Under the scheme, peak-time drivers would pay £2 to cross the M60, then a further £1 to enter the inner charging zone of Manchester city centre.

Extra two £1 charges would be levied to cross the boundaries heading out of the city.

Delivery drivers would face paying up to £10 a day for repeated crossings.

The project, earmarked to be to introduced in 2013, would be combined with a £2.8 billion Government-funded package for public transport improvements.

Members of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (Agma) meeting in Bury today decided voters would vote on just one question, with the wording yet to be decided.

Agma leader Lord Peter Smith said the vote would be "all or nothing" for the region.

He said: "Today's news is an important step forward for the people of Greater Manchester who now have an opportunity to vote on one of the most important decisions this city region has seen for decades.

"People will have their say on whether they want to say yes to a transformed public transport system in Greater Manchester including a congestion charge to ensure their region can continue to prosper.

"It is all or nothing."

The referendum will not affect the public consultation process currently under way and due to end in October.

At the end of the consultation, feedback from the public will shape the final package that will be put to a vote.

Lord Smith added: "It is critical now more than ever that people continue to take part in the consultation and I urge people to read the documents, visit the website and go to the exhibition vehicle to ensure they are clear on the facts and what they will be voting on.

"It's important all views are heard and the public continue to input into the exact location of the charging rings and who won't pay a charge."

Agma plans to have details of the referendum finalised by the end of September.

The last time people of Greater Manchester voted in a single referendum was in 1975 when the UK decided to say 'yes' to stay in the European Community.

Seven out of 10 boroughs need to return a 'yes' vote for the scheme to go ahead.

Trafford, Bury and Stockport councils were already opposed to the project, while Bolton planned to hold its own referendum.

Campaigners against the scheme welcomed today's decision.

Chris Wermann, spokesman for business alliance Greater Manchester Momentum Group, said: "This is the best possible result for Greater Manchester. We have campaigned very actively to ensure everyone had the right to vote on a scheme which we believe will be bad for business and commuters. This approach will guarantee the views of residents in every borough count.

"We will now campaign strongly for a 'no' vote on current proposals, but acknowledge we all have a role to play in managing future congestion as well as putting forward workable ideas for managing congestion and funding public transport improvements."

Sean Corker, of Manchester Against Road Tolls (Mart), said: "A referendum is the only right way to make a decision of such importance.

"I think there is growing momentum in the area against introducing this charge.

"It would discriminate against the poorest in society by taxing them off the road.

"Congestion charging schemes are largely inefficient and expensive to run."


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