‘I just can’t afford it,’ drivers say as they protest new car tax changes on highways.
ANGRY motorists have demonstrated in response to proposed car tax changes that could see them charged just for driving in Greater Manchester.
On the M60 yesterday, a group of motorists staged a “go-slow protest” to draw attention to the upcoming charges, which are set to take effect at the end of May.
Manchester’s clean air zone is set to launch later this year, but many drivers have already expressed their displeasure with the fees, with some urging the city government to scrap the proposed regulations.
Vehicles in convoy were reported passing junction 19 for Middleton and Heaton Park, traveling anticlockwise, causing traffic congestion on the M60.
One lane of traffic was closed, and heavy traffic was reported in the area, according to the Inrix traffic monitoring system.
Around 100 vehicles were involved in the protest, according to Greater Manchester Police.
“We’re working to minimize disruption on the M60 as a result of a go-slow protest,” they said in a tweet.
“Motorists are advised to seek alternate routes while officers work with Highways North-West and speak with those involved to put an end to the disruption, taking action where necessary.”
“We respect the right to peaceful protest, but demonstrations like this wreak havoc on other road users, especially emergency vehicles.”
“The reported go-slow protest is now believed to be over, and traffic is running normally,” GMP said two hours after the initial report.
If their car does not meet pollution standards, some high-emission vehicles could face daily charges of £7.50.
While private cars will be exempt from the charge, larger vehicles such as HGVs and buses will be charged £60.
It will span ten local authority areas across Greater Manchester, including Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of Manchester and Salford, making it England’s largest CAZ.
One protesting driver told the BBC that the proposed changes were unacceptable.
“It will cost me £70 a week to get to work – there and back,” Bowden Spence, from Oldham, said.
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“I’m a family man with three children; I simply cannot afford it; it will bankrupt me.”
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