MOTORCYCLISTS have hit out at a new pay-as-you-ride charge which is planned for Greater Manchester.

The city will be the first in the UK to introduce charges for bikes which are ridden in and out of the central zone.

The charges will form part of the proposed car congestion scheme for Greater Manchester.

In Durham, which introduces the UK's first congestion charge scheme, and in London, motorbikes are exempt from charges.

Andy Speak, manager of A & S Motorcycles, The Haulgh, Bolton, said: "It's just another money-grabbing scheme, another tax that won't be invested in our roads.

"Motorcycles shouldn't even have a tax disc on them, they take up little room on the roads, they are eco-friendly and in the space taken by every car on the road you can fit 10 motorcycles."

The introduction of Manchester's congestion charge is still dependent on the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) getting £3 billion from the government's Transport Innovation Fund to develop public transport in the region.

A spokesman for the GMPTA said: that Manchester's bid to the government for funding has to be submitted by July 31.

Public consultation on the proposals will be held throughout June and July.

The spokesman added: "The charge levied on each motorcycle has still not been decided but it will be less than cars."

The car and motorcycle charges will be levied at peak times, Monday to Friday - into Manchester from 7am to 9.30am and out of the city between 4pm and 6.30pm, costing £2. There would be no charges at weekends or public holidays.

Payments will be made at a point close to the M60 and at a new ring road, yet to be built.

Mr Speak said: "The charge will not deter people from applying for a motorcycle licence, instead they'll just ride illegally."

Hugh German, vice chairman of Bolton Advanced Motorists, said: "I can't see any reason for choosing to charge motorcycles. They can slip down all sorts of side roads and bollards so it just seems a crazy idea that will be extremely difficult to introduce.

"I think it will raise a great deal of antagonism and I doubt the money will be invested wisely."