Plans for Britain’s biggest congestion charging scheme have been rejected by voters in Manchester, following years of political grappling.
The Greater Manchester scheme was rejected by all ten boroughs involved in Thursday’s referendum, which saw more than a million people casting their vote.
At least seven local authority districts would have needed majority ‘Yes’ votes for the plans to go ahead.
Congestion charging scheme
The result has effectively put paid to the congestion charging scheme, which would have seen drivers charged up to £5 per day for using the region’s roads. It could also have wider implications for schemes elsewhere in the country.
Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley in Manchester, a long-time opponent of the scheme, said he was delighted with the result.
‘It’s a brave politician that goes forward with such a scheme, unless it is an extraordinarily good scheme that virtually everybody benefits from.’
He added: ‘It does show there is a hostility to road charging.’
Local transport investment
Not everyone welcomed the news. The ‘Yes’ campaign – comprised largely of local firms, unions and pressure groups – had argued that the region had a once-and-for-all chance to get billions invested in local transport.
However, the ‘No’ camp said the plans were unfair, would hit the local economy, and would cost drivers up to £1,200 a year.
Manchester’s proposed charging zone would have covered about 80 square miles – making it some 72 square miles bigger than London’s.
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