Public says a big 'NO' to congestion charge plans

Plans for a controversial congestion charge in Greater Manchester have been soundly rejected by the public.

The result of the poll was revealed early on Friday afternoon in Manchester following months of political fighting over what would be Britain's biggest congestion charge zone.

Each of the 10 boroughs across the county said no to the plans by sizeable margins with more than 1,033,000 people voting, a turnout of 53.2%.

The scheme needed a majority in favour in at least seven local authority districts to get the go-ahead.

It is good news for commuters who regularly drive from Lancashire into Manchester.

The Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund proposals would have involved both major investment in public transport in Greater Manchester and the introduction of a weekday, peak-time only congestion charge.

More than 1.94 million ballot packs had been posted to voters across the region over the past two weeks.

A massive publicity campaign had been waged by both 'Yes' and 'No' groups on both sides of the debate.

The Yes campaign said the region had a once-and-for-all chance to get billions invested in local transport, while the No campaign said the plans were badly thought-through and would cost the region jobs.

The scheme would have charged drivers up to 5 a day to visit Manchester and Friday's 'no' vote may signal the future direction of road pricing transport policy for the rest of the UK.

Do you agree with the decision? What is the best way forward now for public transport in the UK?

Post your comment below, text us typing in LEPSHOUT (space) and the text up to a maximum of 160 characters, sending to 84070, or email us at lep.newsdesk@lep.co.uk

Read more on this story in Saturday's Lancashire Evening Post.

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