A key priority for me, alongside residents and commuters, is tackling road traffic pollution hotspots and updating our road networks. So, it was great to finally get the news of £33.6 million package of Government support for the A34 (Kingsway in Cheadle) to address long standing traffic and congestion issues on this notorious M60 to A555 bottleneck.
Improved junction layouts, cycle tracks and a much-needed subway replacement at Kingsway School will be some of the projects to be progressed with this significant funding package from Government. The A34 scheme has been approved in principle. It's conditional on the council submitting final business cases once they've secured the legal permissions they need and have chosen a contractor.
It is important that we bring forward practical solutions to traffic and congestion in pollution ‘hot spots’ and not just use a blanket approach which taxes road users.
For taxi drivers, trades, and businesses news that the Government has stepped in to put a stop to the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charge is welcome. The Government has instructed Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to abandon his unworkable scheme to enforce a massive 500 square mile CAZ covering the whole of Greater Manchester. Secretary of State for the Environment George Eustice has instructed Mayor Burnham to reduce the scope of any CAZ zone by '95% or more' to cover 'in practice, just Manchester city centre', and targeting the support schemes from the £132 million funding provided by the Government to help the much smaller number of businesses affected as a consequence.
Andy Burnham’s plan for the biggest scheme in the UK covering the whole of Greater Manchester was a ‘job destroying tax’ on going to work. This 500 square mile zone with all the charging infrastructure left in place, on a promise that the zone would be non-charging, raised a great deal of suspicion amongst Conservative MP's in Greater Manchester that it was a plan postponed rather than ditched, raising fears that the Mayor could simply have switched to a charging zone across GM at a later date. I'm delighted that the Government has instructed the Mayor to restrict any CAZ to central Manchester instead. This will come as a huge relief to many small businesses and working families across Greater Manchester, including in my constituency of Cheadle, which should never have been included in the zone in the first place.