Andy Burnham has said “in no uncertain terms” that plans for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will not be coming back on a recent visit to Bolton.

He made the pledge on a recent visit to Westhoughton where he had been speaking to business owners about their concerns, having been in Bolton town centre earlier that day.

The Greater Manchester mayor had been joined by council leader Cllr Nick Peel and by Phil Brickell, the Labour candidate for the Bolton West seat currently held by Chris Green.

A Labour spokesperson said: “Mr Burnham told local businesses in no uncertain terms that the CAZ proposal will no longer be going ahead.

“He believes that a reduction in air pollution can instead be achieved by investing in greener forms of transport, a process that he has begun with the electric bee network buses.

The Bolton News: Andy Burnham, Phil Brickell, Cllr Nick Peel, Cllr David Chadwick and Karen MillingtonAndy Burnham, Phil Brickell, Cllr Nick Peel, Cllr David Chadwick and Karen Millington (Image: Public)

“He would also like to see a gradual upgrading of taxis to cleaner technology, for which funding would be provided.”

Plans for a charging “Clean Air Zone” to be imposed across Greater Manchester would have started in May 2022.

Originally the scheme would have charged vehicles with the highest emissions charged up to £60 a day for driving across the city region’s roads.

Most motorways and A roads managed by Highways England would have been exempt from these charges.

But these plans were abandoned after provoking widespread opposition, including from taxi drivers in Bolton.

Earlier this year Mr Burnham confirmed that Clean Air Zone signs would be removed all across the city region.

But the cameras installed to enforce the scheme would stay in place for police use. 

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Mr Burnham’s visit to Westhoughton on Friday, April 5 also involved speaking to business owners about concerns including the cost-of-living crisis and measures to support independent shops.

Earlier that same day he had been to the Wellsprings development opposite Bolton Town Hall and to the newly refurbished central library on Le Mans Crescent.

Mr Brickell said: “It was a pleasure to host Andy Burnham the Greater Manchester mayor and Nick Peel, leader of Bolton Council.

“It’s really important that local politicians get out and about and talk to local businesses and residents about local issues and what concerns them.”