Greater Manchester Congestion Charge - Reaction - Public

Public

A group of over 160 Manchester-based businesses calling themselves United City fully supported the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) bid. A group of over 279 businesses, the Greater Manchester Momentum Group, opposed the plans.

On 24 October the Stop the Charge Coalition was formed, comprising a cross party alliance of seven local MPs and the leaders of the three councils opposed to the plans.

The Manchester Evening News newspaper conducted a telephone survey to gauge public support for a congestion charging scheme. The survey posed several questions, two of which directly asked if respondents were in favour of congestion charging. The results were mixed, with around two thirds of respondents thinking that congestion charging was not "a good idea" but a slim majority in favour of congestion charging in Manchester as part of the proposed public transport improvement scheme in Manchester's Transport Innovation Fund bid.

  • "Do you think congestion charging is a good idea": Yes – 36%; No – 64% out of 100 votes
  • "Is congestion charging a price worth paying to get £3bn Government cash to improve public transport in the region – including the expansion of the Metrolink to Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham and Rochdale, as well as South Manchester and Manchester Airport?": Yes – 55%; No – 44%

A "Green Survey" conducted by the same news paper month later shows that two thirds of the region back the congestion charge. One side is headed by a coalition of campaign groups known as Clean Air Now (CAN), while the other side is headed by campaign group known as Manchester Against Road Tolls (MART).
MART stated that it did not believe the public was consulted properly and that the information provided by supporters of the charge was biased and insufficient. MART started a legal petition calling for a referendum on a directly elected mayor who would lead Bury council and be able to withdraw Bury's support from the scheme. This required 7,099 people or 5% of the Bury electorate to sign the petition. Some councillors for Bury have called for a referendum directly on the congestion charge. MART has launched similar petitions in the other seven districts of Greater Manchester that support the TiF bid. MART has established a branch in Tameside after gauging the level of opposition to the scheme in the area through the online petition. In July 2008, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities agreed unanimously to the proposed Transport Improvements, in conjunction with a Congestion Charge, to be submitted to a referendum of the residents of Greater Manchester; the vote itself to be managed by the Electoral Reform Society. Only if there is a majority in favour of the proposals in seven out of the ten boroughs, would the proposals go forwards.

Read more about this topic:  Greater Manchester Congestion Charge, Reaction

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