Manchester is one step closer to creating a London-style congestion charge, as council bosses voted in favour of the plan. Rather than London's £8 ($16) daily charge, they plan to have a lower £5 fee, which would be spent on extending the tram system and on more buses and trains. There would be a gradual charge scale, dependant upon where you want to drive. £5 would be the highest amount paid by any driver.
Roger Jones, Chairman of the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, said, "Our bid makes its clear that any charging scheme would not be introduced on roads until those affected have a reliable, integrated public transport system available to provide people with a real alternative to using their cars. We have received a large volume of valuable feedback from the local business community and Greater Manchester residents, which we will now use to help shape the detailed nature of our full strategy."
Although this plan, and the London zone, is primarily to reduce congestion, it also has obvious environmental benefits. The charge has lowered the number of cars in London, making the air cleaner and the roads safer for cyclists. This money has also been, in part, put back into public transport, making it even easier to get around the city without a car. It would be wonderful news if a zone is introduced in Manchester - it seems far more likely to succeed than the similar proposal in New York. ::BBC