During last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, government bodies from across the world further committed to reducing carbon footprint, agreeing on stricter targets to limit their national emissions. That of course includes the UK, and with a raft of new policies expected over the coming years, it’s a good idea to prepare to keep your business as flexible as you can. 

With the Clean Air Zones due to be implemented in multiple cities this year, switching to lower-emissions vehicles is a prime example of the sort of sensible move you can make to prepare, especially with the great bargains available in our online car auctions. The most prominent of these will be in Manchester, encompassing a total of 10 local authorities. However, it’s already proving controversial, and as a result it’s been scheduled in for a review in the Spring. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is Manchester Clean Air Zone? 

A Clean Air Zone is basically a designated area where specific measures have been implemented to tackle air pollution. Often, this involves identifying the most polluting vehicles driving within the boundaries of the Clean Air Zone, and levying additional charges to drivers in an effort to convince them to switch to less polluting vehicles. 

Manchester has infamously long had an issue with air pollution, and as a way to combat and bring down excessive emissions, the local council was mandated by the Government (itself mandated by the Supreme Court) to introduce a ‘Clean Air Zone’, taking effect in May 2022. 

This specific Clean Air Zone would require high emission vehicles to pay a rate when driving through Manchester. This rate would encompass anything between £7.50 - £60 a day, depending on the vehicle you use. So, for people driving through Manchester frequently for business purposes, it’s likely to make a not-insignificant impact on their finances. 

Why is the council reviewing the Clean Air Zone?

In a nutshell – because of its potentially devastating impact on Greater Manchester’s business community. The Clean Air Zones have been on our agenda since 2015, which was when the Supreme Court ordered the government to introduce the zones to tackle climate change. But that date was way before the world at large became aware of the possibility any pandemic, much less the extent of the impact that one would have on our everyday lives.

Now though, the COVID-19 pandemic now introduces a number of additional complications to achieving compliance. 

While there’s generally broad support for climate change initiatives, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has been forced to review the costs in light of the pandemic’s economic impact on the business sector. Mr Burnham cited growing costs and lack of government help as one reason why the fee is being reviewed, and while the costs grow for companies during the pandemic. For now, it remains to be seen what will be done about the CAZ – and we probably won’t know more details until after the Spring. 

What might happen after the review?

It largely comes down to two main scenarios; the Zone will be implemented as planned in May, or it’ll be successfully delayed to give business owners more breathing room. There are some notes of optimism at the moment – the authorities in Manchester have been told they only need to become compliant by 2024. This does give Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority a decent amount of time to amend their timelines and still make the deadline.

As things stand, it’s very difficult to say. Whatever the case though, you can always count on us here at RAW2K to continue providing you with great bargains on used vehicles, so you can save money as you act quickly to fill any gaps in your fleet. Our auctions are refreshed on a daily and weekly basis. This includes makes and models available from some of the world’s leading manufacturers, such as VolkswagenFordRenault, and many more. Why not take a look around, and see what you can find?