Local road charging scheme falls at first hurdle

January 30, 2007 1:27 PM
Traffic jam in Bramhall

Mark Hunter MP with local traffic

In response to the GMPTA proposals to consider a road charging scheme in Greater Manchester. Local Liberal Democrat MPs Mark Hunter and Andrew Stunell make clear their reservations and concerns about the scheme.

"The crucial point in any plan for tackling congestion in Stockport is the urgent need to complete the local road network - the A555 from Bredbury, round Hazel Grove and on to the Airport - and to see the tram extended from the Airport line to Stockport town centre and beyond. Nothing should get in the way of that, and charging motorists before local residents have real alternatives would be a big mistake.

While we fully appreciate that for Manchester city centre and its immediate surroundings congestion charging might be a good way to stop traffic build-up and promote environmentally conscious driving, we have serious reservations about the proposed congestion charging in Stockport Borough.

For instance if drivers using the A6 are to be charged it is obvious they will simply divert onto side roads, very much to the detriment of local residents' quality of life, increasing traffic in suburban streets, and creating a noisier and more accident-prone environment for local communities. Worse still, because the Metrolink does not reach their local area they will not get any benefit from the facility these road charges are funding. It must be wrong that although there are not viable public transport alternatives, drivers from our constituencies will be charged for using their cars. Surely the first step is to provide effective and efficient alternative forms of public transport.

There has already been a big public outcry across Stockport about this scheme. Surely then the third 'executive test' the AGMA announced, that 'measures, must be acceptable, .....to the public…' has not been met, and therefore the scheme has to be completely rethought."

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