The Freight Transport Association has given a cautious welcome to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities' (AGMA) decision to delay congestion charging proposals for commercial goods vehicles to allow greater evaluation of the impact of the proposed scheme on goods vehicle operators and businesses in the area.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA's Head of Policy for Northern England, said:
“The original Greater Manchester proposals failed to recognise the vital economic role freight plays in meeting the needs of Manchester's residents, businesses and visitors in servicing its shops, offices, workshops and leisure facilities.
“Understanding how and why freight operates in the way that it does is therefore crucial to finding long-term solutions to meeting the future needs of Greater Manchester. I am therefore pleased that in discussions today with Sir Howard Bernstein, Head of Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Association, he has agreed to work with FTA to identify long-term solutions for freight in the peak hours period of the proposed congestion charging scheme.
“Going forward, FTA believes that AGMA needs to provide a more strategic role for freight in Greater Manchester's planning policies and processes, with the resources and commitment to achieve the long-term solutions for freight that FTA says is absolutely vital if the scheme is to be ultimately acceptable to the freight industry.
“The 100 per cent discounts now proposed for Trafford Park, and a one year delay in the introduction of charging goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, creates a breathing space to show the cashable benefits for operators and businesses of the proposed scheme as well as a long-term solution for freight operations in the city.
“We now need to see how the discount system can be applied, not just to Greater Manchester freight operators but also to the many businesses which supply goods and essential services to residents of Manchester.”