MP attacks Andy Burnham's 'ridiculous' clean air zone U-turn - 'Nearly made me throw up!'

Andy Burnham and James Daly

James Daly said Andy Burnham hasn't made 'a jot of difference' to his constituents

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 28/09/2023

- 15:25

Updated: 28/09/2023

- 15:28

James Daly MP blasted Andy Burnham, saying that his constituents had not benefitted from the Mayor's plans

A Greater Manchester MP has attacked Andy Burnham for going back on his pledge to introduce a charge for drivers to travel inside the clean air zone, calling it “utterly ridiculous”.

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham sat down with GB News political editor Christopher Hope where he vowed never to introduce a charging zone in Greater Manchester.

A clean air zone was originally meant to be introduced in May 2022, but was scrapped months earlier because of concerns around funding for businesses to access cleaner, CAZ-compliant vehicles.

Despite this, signs and cameras can still be seen around Greater Manchester, with Andy Burnham saying he would prefer not to have a charging area and instead introduce methods to limit emissions, including the new Bee Network electric buses.

WATCH NOW: Andy Burnham on Manchester's Clean Air Zone

James Daly, Conservative MP for Bury North, spoke to Ellie Costello and Mark Longhurst on The Live Desk, saying: “What I’ve just heard has nearly made me throw up.

“In March 2017, when Andy Burnham was standing to be elected as the Mayor of Greater Manchester, he asked the Government to add Greater Manchester to a list of six areas where a clean air zone could be imposed.

“He asked for the power to do that. After that, he spent somewhere between £60 and £70million trying to impose a 493 square mile charging zone upon the people of Greater Manchester.

“He was telling us until recently that we were going to have 493 square miles of charging zone. That’s what he wanted.

“It’s ridiculous, it's utterly ridiculous. I’ve been arguing for a non-charging clean air zone for years and years and years.

“Do you know why he changed his mind? Before the last mayoral election the backlash against his plan was so much, the man of great principle that he is, he dropped the clean air zone charging plan at that stage.”

Mr Daly pointed out how the Scottish-made Bee Network buses are paid for by the British taxpayer and attacked Burnham’s plans for active travel, namely the cycle lanes around the city.

He also claimed that the cameras around Greater Manchester were costing £375,000 a month, despite “nobody using them”.

There are more than 1,300 clean air signs in place, with “under review” stickers placed over the top until a formal decision on the zone is made.

Presenter Ellie Costello highlighted how Andy Burnham had frequently called for greater transport provisions for the north, being especially vocal in the HS2 debate.

She added that Andy Burnham was being proved right by the fact that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was being required to drive to the Conservative Party Conference, rather than take the train because of strikes.

James Daly responded, saying: “Perhaps Andy could have a chat with his mates in the trade unions and ask them to get the trains running. That’s a purely political strike and there’s no justification whatsoever for that.

“Why do you think he’s saying this now? He is 'the great politician', he will say anything. The ‘King of the North’ routine is what you get with him.

“Nothing that Andy Burnham has done has made a jot of difference to any of my constituent’s lives.”


Andy Burnham on the Bee Network bus

Andy Burnham launched the Bee Network bus service this week


Earlier this week, Andy Burnham met with other Labour mayors from around the country, including Sadiq Khan, to call on the Government to keep the HS2 plans in pace, warning that it would leave the north of England with “Victorian infrastructure”.

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