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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Authority says 'no' to road tolls
Traffic on Oxford Road, Manchester
Fifteen main routes into the city centre will be chargeable
Stockport Council has become the latest authority to vote against plans for a Greater Manchester congestion charge.

The decision follows a survey which found that 67% of residents and 78% of businesses did not support the proposed road charges.

Supporters of the charge, which will be dependent on 3bn of public transport improvements, say it is essential to the region's economic future.

Opponents say the charge, which could be up to 5, would damage the economy.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) meets on Friday to decide whether to bid for 1.2bn of government funding for the scheme.

On Wednesday, Manchester City Council became the eighth of the 10 authorities to support the congestion charge plan.

As things stand, congestion charging for Stockport is now dead in the water
Dave Goddard, Stockport Council leader

It is not yet clear if a majority vote at the AGMA meeting would trigger the push for funding, with minutes from the last meeting saying the decision should be based on "consensus".

Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese, who will chair the meeting, has said if the public transport system is not improved, the region could lose out on up to 30,000 jobs in the next 15 years.

"We need to make this bid to the Transport Innovation Fund to improve our roads and trams, get more control over buses and trains and improve life for everyone living and investing in our city region," he said.

"However, let me reiterate - there can be no charging until improvements in public transport are in place."

According to a poll commissioned by Greater Manchester's councils in which 5,000 residents were questioned, 53% supported the plans.

But according to polls conducted by Stockport and Trafford councils, residents in these areas are against congestion charging.

Decision welcomed

Stockport council leader Dave Goddard, said "As things stand, congestion charging for Stockport is now dead in the water.

"Let me make it crystal clear: there was overwhelming opposition to congestion charging expressed by the people of Stockport, even if there were to be more investment in public transport."

Campaign group, Manchester Against Road Tolls (Mart), said those against the scheme were "delighted with the result".

"The people and businesses of Stockport have given a massive 'no' to the toll plans," a spokesman said.

"This result raises a question as to how the survey carried out by those who are promoting the plans got a very different answer."

The road pricing scheme involves two charging rings - one at the M60, the other close to the city centre.

Drivers will pay a deposit for an electronic tag, which will monitor journeys on 15 main routes into the city in the busy morning and evening periods.




SEE ALSO
Authority's support for c-charge
25 Jul 07 |  Manchester
Council opposes congestion charge
24 Jul 07 |  Manchester
Public 'back' congestion charge
20 Jul 07 |  Manchester
Congestion leaflet drivers 'fake'
09 Jul 07 |  Manchester
Businesses 'opposed' to c-charge
21 Jun 07 |  Manchester
City congestion fee plan unveiled
25 May 07 |  Manchester

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