CHARGES which could be introduced in a bid to tackle air pollution in the region will make a big difference to businesses who operate them.

The plans being discussed by Greater Manchester Combined Authority for a Clean Air Zone would see drivers of lorries and buses being charged £100 a day in the zone, with taxis and private-hire vehicles facing £7.50 daily fees if they have not been upgraded to less polluting models or fitted with technology to make them comply with the emissions target.

There are plans to extend the fees to non-compliant vans in 2023.

Air pollution across Greater Manchester is estimated to result in 1,200 deaths a year and experts believe emissions from diesel vehicles are linked with a range of serious health problems and reduced life expectancies.

The plan would include all local roads designated in the zone, but is not able to impose charges for motorway use.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has insisted it is not a congestion charge and does not include private cars.

For the sums involved, paying the daily fees would be too much for many businesses to absorb and they would have to look at upgrading or replacing ageing diesel vehicles.

The drive is to keep polluting vehicles out of these areas to improve air quality and, ultimately, people’s health.

There is a price to pay but the benefits will far outweigh the cost.