Ministers have intervened to ensure the highest possible threshold would have to be met if councils in Greater Manchester want to introduce a form of road charging across the city region.
A letter from local government minister Bob Neill (Con) and transport minister Norman Baker (Lib Dem), to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, states that if the ten councils that comprise the city region’s new combined authority wish to introduce road charging it can only be done with a unanimous votes.
Under the combined authority’s usual voting procedures a simply majority applies, except for key strategic issues or votes on funding, when a 7:3 majority applies.
In the letter the ministers confirmed the government’s approval of the combined authority – which will enable collective decisions to be made over housing, regeneration, transport and economic development issues across the city region – but said any road user charging proposals world require a 10:0 vote in favour.
The letter said: “This is because the relatively recent referendum in Manchester on road user charging and the overwhelming response to it has led us to believe that any introduction of a charging scheme should be on the clear basis that any charging scheme is endorsed by all the constituent councils”.
In 2008, a transport-funding package developed by AGMA that included a road-pricing scheme was defeated in a city region wide referendum.