Major progress is being made on the implementation of a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) across Greater Manchester in the UK, and an accompanying £120 million Financial Support Scheme. The Legal Services Alliance, a collaboration of Squire Patton Boggs and BDB Pitmans, is advising Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) on the project.
TfGM has today made a number of announcements in connection with the city-region’s Clean Air Plan.
The project is one of a number of measures being introduced by the public sector to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions levels on local roads, and is similar to the Zones recently introduced in Bath and Birmingham. The Greater Manchester CAZ is notable for a number of reasons:
- Unlike the city centre-focused Zones recently introduced in Bath and Birmingham, the Greater Manchester CAZ is substantially larger in geographical terms, covering the whole of the city-region and featuring more than 850 number plate recognition cameras and over 2,000 road signs.
- It is also a joint undertaking, being implemented by all of the 10 boroughs that together make up Greater Manchester – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan – and delivered by TfGM.
- To ease the financial impact of the CAZ and assist with the transition to cleaner vehicles, the project features an innovative Financial Support scheme whereby eligible businesses in GM can apply for grant and subsidised vehicle finance packages from a £120 million fund to assist in purchasing replacement, low carbon vehicles or retrofit solutions.
Following its appointment to the role in April 2019, the Legal Services Alliance has provided wide-ranging legal advice to TfGM and continues to advise in the run up to the GM CAZ going live in spring 2022. A number of important milestones have recently been achieved including the signing of contracts to implement and operate the CAZ and Financial Support Scheme. The project’s final proposals have also recently obtained full approval from the constituent 10 GM local authorities, following the public consultation held in 2020.
The Legal Services Alliance team is led by Manchester-based Squire Patton Boggs partners Nick Helm (Infrastructure) and Andrew Herring (Transport) and BDB Pitmans legal director Rahul Bijlani and partner Tom Henderson. The Squire Patton Boggs team also features partner Simon Jones, an IT and public sector outsourcing specialist, and financial services partner Matt Ingram. Key junior support is provided by Squire Patton Boggs Manchester team members Eloise Crawshaw, Dan Crayford and Megan Kitchen.
Squire Patton Boggs partners Nick Helm and Andrew Herring said: “The GM CAZ marks a major step in the push to improve air quality in the city-region, as air pollution contributes to at least 1,200 deaths in Greater Manchester annually. As Manchester-based lawyers, this is a project we and the Squire Patton Boggs Manchester office are delighted to be involved in. The Financial Support Scheme will be available to eligible GM-based businesses, people and organisations to either replace or retrofit non-compliant vehicles and will form part of the city-region’s green revolution.”