Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Friday, 20 June 2008 10:31 UK

Manchester C-charge area unveiled

The public will be consulted on the location of the inner ring

Plans for the basic location of the inner ring of Manchester's proposed congestion charge have been unveiled.

Under the scheme, drivers entering and leaving the city at peak times will be charged for crossing the M60 and a second ring around the city centre.

It would be combined with 2.8bn of investment to create a "world-class public transport system".

Alternative options for the final boundaries of the inner ring will be subject to a public consultation.

The basic site of the inner charging ring runs along Queens Road to the north and Alan Turing Way to the east, while the west boundary will run along Trafford Road and Fredrick Road.

The southern boundary would run along either Wilbraham Road or Hathersage Road and Moss Lane.

Under the plans, motorists could pay up to 5 a day at current prices to cross in and out of both zones at peak times.

Sir Richard Leese, deputy leader of the Association of Greater Manchester Councils (AGMA), said estimates suggested 1% of drivers would pay the full fee.

"Since proposals were initially announced there have been detailed discussions with the highways authorities to make sure that natural community ties such as shopping areas and school catchment areas are not broken," he said.

"The publication of the inner ring will allow people to calculate whether or not they will pay a charge.

The authorities should reveal the full picture and not try to 'con' people about how much the 'con' charge will affect them
Manchester Against Road Tolls spokesman

"We expect that only 20% of peak time drivers will actually pay any charge at all as they will not cross a ring in the direction of congestion."

But campaign group Manchester Against Road Tolls (Mart) said that if only 1% of drivers did pay the full 5, the figures did not add up, given that more than 1bn would have to be borrowed.

A spokesman said: "That borrowing plus interest has to be repaid out of tolls, and we know from the experience in London that most of the money collected is wasted on administration and enforcement.

"They would need gross income from tolls of hundreds of millions of pounds each year.

"The authorities should reveal the full picture and not try to 'con' people about how much the 'con' charge will affect them."

The government will contribute 1.5bn to the fund for improvements to buses, trains and the tram expansion. The remaining 1.3bn will come from the city authorities and will be funded by the road charge.

According to a recent poll of 1,000 people in Manchester, 62% were against the charge and 86% wanted a referendum.

A public consultation about the proposals will be carried out throughout the summer.




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