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UK's Manchester to become Britain's second city to charge drivers to enter central areas

UK's Manchester to become Britain's second city to charge drivers to enter central areas

A second British city will introduce a toll on drivers entering central streets to reduce congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions, an official said Monday.
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly told lawmakers that the northern English city of Manchester would probably introduce charges for drivers entering the city center, or using a city circumferential road, at peak times beginning in 2013.
London introduced a daily congestion charge on trucks and cars entering the city center in 2003. The levy has been credited with reducing traffic and improving commuting patterns in the capital.
Several cities in Europe and the U.S. have studied the London program. Stockholm, Sweden, became last year the second European city to introduce a permanent congestion charge.
Kelly said the British government believes several other U.K. cities are likely to develop a congestion charge.
"It is essential that we provide people with greater choice over how and when they travel, cut congestion on our roads and take the right decisions for our quality of life, the environment and the long term health of our economy," Kelly said.
Manchester will probably charge motorists five pounds (US$10; euro6.35) to enter downtown streets at busy times of day.
The city has a population of 450,000 and, with the neighboring city of Salford and a network of surrounding towns, is considered Britain's second largest urban area, after London.
Kelly claimed a failure to cut congestion would cost the region the creation of 30,000 new jobs by 2021. But local businesses said they are concerned the new levy will hurt the city's economy.
"At a time when the economy is faltering and everyone is tightening their belts, the congestion charge will be yet another burden on ordinary people," said Andrew Simpson, chairman of group of city businesses, including Kellogg Co.
Opposition Conservative party Lawmaker Theresa Villiers called for a referendum in Manchester to decide whether to introduce the charge.
Singapore pioneered road charging in 1975 and similar programs have been in place in Norway since the early 1990s.
Melbourne, Australia, has imposed a charge for downtown driving since 2000. The Italian city of Milan levies a charge on drivers entering a three square mile (eight square kilometer) section of the city center.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg attempted to introduce a congestion charge to New York, but state legislators refused to approve the plan.


Updated : 2021-04-17 20:32 GMT+08:00