There are no plans to introduce a clean air charging zone in Bolton, town hall leaders have confirmed.

This comes after speculation and questions that the new council leadership, that was elected earlier this year, could have followed other authorities around the country like Bradford in bringing in such a charge.

But Cllr Richard Silvester, cabinet member for the environment, has confirmed that he does not intend to allow plans to introduce any charges targeted at older cars and vehicles.

Cllr Silvester said: “The policy of the Bolton Labour Group which all Labour candidates stood on and were elected on, including myself is that we do not believe that charging car owners is ever the solution to getting older polluting cars off our roads, and instead believe that generous government grants for vehicle scrapping or upgrade is always the solution to achieve cleaner air.

“As executive cabinet member for environment with the responsibility for clean air in Bolton, I can confirm that there is no plan or any proposal to introduce a Clean Air charging zone for or anywhere in the Bolton borough.

The Bolton News: Cllr Richard SilvesterCllr Richard Silvester (Image: Bolton Council)

“And as per local Labour Party policy, I would be against any such proposal, and I would not support any such proposal.

“In short, it is not going to occur in the Bolton borough.”

Plans for a clean air zone across the whole of Greater Manchester had proven to be controversial in recent years before the scheme was eventually abandoned.

More recently Cllr Silvester had been responding both to questions put at a full meeting of the council earlier this month and to those put by constituents in the town who had been worried about the potential effects of clean air charging.

The questions at council meetings had been put by Cllr John Walsh, of Astley Bridge, who drew comparisons to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ scheme, which he said had drawn “widespread opposition".

Cllr Walsh also said the scheme had proven ineffective at protecting the environment in other areas where it had been introduced like Glasgow.

He said: “In fact, as a report which was published only earlier this week tells us in Glasgow where ULEZ has been in operation under the SNP, supported by the Labour Party, for some time in the period of its operation the level of hydrogen dioxide has gone up by 10 per cent.

“The level of vehicle pollutants has gone up by 11 and a half per cent and as one resident from Glasgow says ‘you have to question the point of banning cars given all the cost, disruption and inconvenience.’”

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Cllr Silvester had also been responding to questions put by Bolton residents including Mo Akram about the situation in Bradford.

Mr Akram reported that he knew of several people who lived nearby who have been caught out with charges when visiting the West Yorkshire city, despite driving cars that would have been compliant in most other areas in the country.

He said: “Licensed motorists driving or passing through Bradford are unaware of city's CAZ variant and unexpectedly receive PCN's for vehicles, which would otherwise be considered as compliant throughout the rest of the UK.”

But Cllr Silvester has confirmed that a there will be no such scheme introduced locally.