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27 Nov 2008 04:11:20

Manchester to hold congestion charge referendum

Manchester to hold congestion charge referendum
Manchester residents could vote to turn their city into the first outside London to adopt a congestion charge.

Proposals for the £3 billion scheme would be unique to the UK in that the charge would only apply during rush hour.

Money raised through the system would be used to improve public transport, including developing the tram network and creating more bus routes.

"These measures will help cut congestion as well as CO2 and air pollution," said Friends of the Earth transport campaigner Tony Bosworth.

"Reduced congestion will cut costs for businesses, while improved public transport will make the city a better place to work, helping it to attract investment and employees."

Residents will vote in an all-postal ballot, which is to close on December 11th.

Despite support from Friends of the Earth, the Campaign for Better Transport, Greenpeace and Asthma UK, voting is on a "knife edge", according to Clean Air Now spokesman Dave Coleman.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has meanwhile disappointed green transport campaigners by announcing plans to scrap the western extension to London's congestion charge and cut funding for bicycle lanes in the capital.



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