Clean air drive a risk for small firms, says FSB


Government intervention to speed up plans for pollution charging in Greater Manchester is a danger for small firms, many of whom are still unaware, says the Federation of Small Businesses.

Greater Manchester’s current plan to tackle air pollution from vehicles includes introducing a Clean Air Zone across the whole city region from 2021. Inside the zone, non-compliant HGVs, buses, taxis and private hire vehicles will be charged per day, with non-compliant vans added from 2023.

However, in July the government ordered Greater Manchester Combined Authority to accelerate its plan to include vans by two years. This would mean pre-2016 diesel vans being charged £7.50 per day in just 18 months time.

Greater Manchester had requested a £116 million funding pot to support affected businesses, but this is also understood to have been rejected by government.

Robert Downes, FSB development manager in Greater Manchester, said that most businesses agreed with the principle of cleaner air but that the government’s move would be “felt widely right across Greater Manchester and beyond its borders”.

“Our own research early this summer showed very few small businesses were preparing for, or even knew about the plans to introduce pollution charging,” he said.

As well as government pressure to accelerate its existing plans, it is understood that Greater Manchester could also face legal action from environmental groups for failing to include car users in its plans.

More information about Greater Manchester’s proposals can be found at



Posted under General Interest and Environmental Regulations and Legislation on 7 August 2019