12 December 2008
For immediate release - 12 December 2008
MANCHESTER GREENS DISMAYED BY 'NO' VOTE ON CONGESTION CHARGE
- Greens say lack of alternative proposals means "future funding of transport system hangs in balance"
Manchester Greens have expressed their disappointment with the outcome of today's referendum to introduce a congestion charge as part of a package of measures to improve the region's transport infrastructure.
A majority of voters in all of the region's 10 boroughs voted against the plans, with 812,815 (79%) no votes and 218,860 (21%) in favour of the charge.
Nearly 2m people were asked if they supported a £2.8bn investment in regional transport, which included the peak-time charge.
The proposal aimed to create the biggest road congestion zone in the UK, charging drivers up to £5 a day to use Greater Manchester's roads.
Alan Francis, Transport Spokesman for the Green Party said:
"We are very disappointed with the results. It was an opportunity to bring Manchester's transport system into the 21st century, as well going some way to reducing the city's carbon emissions."
As the government's £3billion Transport Innovation Fund (TiF) was tied up with the ‘Yes' vote, a big question mark now hangs over the future of Manchester's transport system.
Mr Francis added:
"Despite local government support for the proposals, there appears to be no plan B in case the bid failed. With increased car use and Greater Manchester streets at a gridlock, the government and local authorities now don't have any plans to tackle congestion or increasing carbon emissions.
"They urgently need to devise a strategy for reducing car use and getting more people travelling by train, tram, bus, bike and walking. That will require huge investment in improving those alternatives to car use. Meanwhile Manchester residents will have to put up with traffic congestion and inadequate public transport and the climate change will continue to get worse."
For further information contact Green Party press office on 020 7561 0282.