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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 11:37 GMT
Congestion charge plan for city
Traffic on Oxford Road, Manchester
Fifteen main routes into the city centre will be chargeable
Congestion charges are proposed on main routes into Manchester city centre.

Council leaders from the 10 Greater Manchester authorities are meeting to discuss plans to charge motorists on busy roads into the city by 2012.

The system would target the 15 roads with the greatest congestion but would cost less than the 8 London charge.

Manchester City Council said a 1bn bid for government funds was planned and that any scheme would only go ahead after a public transport assessment.

Unlike the London charge, hi-tech systems would charge drivers according to the time of day, length of journey and route taken.

It is clear that a London-style charging scheme is not right for Greater Manchester
Sir Richard Leese
Manchester City Council leader
The plans must be approved by the local authorities at a meeting on Friday, and will then go out to public consultation to be held in the spring.

Lord Peter Smith, chairman of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), said that congestion was "taking its toll on both the economy and our environment."

"Doing nothing is not an option," he said.

AGMA is due to meet on Friday to discuss the way forward for the proposals.

A prerequisite of any funding from the government will be a range of public transport alternatives.

Journey times

Sir Richard Leese, Manchester City Council leader and deputy leader of AGMA, said: "It's clear that a London-style charging scheme - which imposes cost irrespective of time of day, length of journey, origin and destination - is not right for Greater Manchester.

"If road charging is to work in this area, we have to tackle congestion both now and in the future.

"Any charging scheme must therefore take into account the time of day, length of journey, origin and destination as well as the impact on communities and key workers.

"Greater influence over the bus network, local rail and the strategic highways network is also a vital prerequisite."

Congestion sign
We believe 2010 is far too soon
Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
Angie Robinson, chief executive of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: "Congestion charging is part of the government's transport policy, so we knew it was likely a charge would be proposed for Manchester.

"Our position has always been that congestion charging should not be introduced until there are viable public transport alternatives in place," she said.

"We believe 2010 is far too soon as the Metrolink extensions to Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside and South Manchester will not be in place by then."

Mrs Robinson added she would be consulting her members on the proposals.

The National Alliance Against Tolls said that people "do not want any form of tolls or so-called 'congestion charging'".

A spokesman added: "All these charges achieve is to take more money from drivers which is then wasted in administration."

The congestion on Manchester's roads

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