The cost of covering up over 1,000 out-of-date Clean Air Zone (CAZ) signs in Greater Manchester with stickers saying ‘under review’ has now been revealed.
After leaders in Greater Manchester raised “fundamental concerns” that certain global and national factors may “impact on the ability” of local businesses and individuals to upgrade their vehicles, and questioned whether the current support package agreed with government of £120 million would be sufficient, the controversial scheme was paused, has now been delayed, and will not go ahead on the original start date of 30 May 2022.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) said that “emerging evidence” from businesses and trade highlighted significant challenges related to supply chain issues and inflation, and they also pointed to the money needed for taxis, vans, minibuses, and coaches.
Overall, there were concerns that the introduction of the scheme could create “financial hardship” for commercial vehicle users in the region.
With the deadline for the scheme now pushed back to 2026, this therefore meant that 1,194 out of the 1,309 installed CAZ signs across the region needed to be amended, as they read the original start date.
It’s now been confirmed that this work will cost £186,000.
This six-figure sum was revealed in a report published ahead of a Greater Manchester Air Quality Administration Committee meeting this week, and confirms that all of the costs associated with the Clean Air Zone in Greater Manchester – including the stickers – are funded by the government.
Councillors on the committee will begin the process of reviewing the evidence and options for a revised scheme when they next meet.
Since the committee last met, Greater Manchester’s council leaders and Mayor Andy Burnham have agreed that all CAZ charges should be scrapped, with Mr Burnham calling on the government to introduce a ‘non-charging’ scheme, which would help fund vehicle upgrades rather than charge road users.
Officers have been carrying out searches of people arriving on site this week – and have already arrested a 24-year-old man.
A quantity of pills and a knife were both recovered from the man, who has been arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs and possession of a bladed article.
After the arrest, Superintendent Phil Spurgeon issued a statement to criminals, saying ‘don’t bother coming to Parklife’.
He said: “We have a really robust police and partnership community safety operation for the festival, and the arrest and seizure yesterday demonstrates the vigilance of security staff, our thorough search procedures and our commitment to keeping people safe.
“Make no mistake, illegal items such as weapons and drugs can have fatal consequences. Our top priority this weekend is keeping people safe, and anyone caught trying to take such items into the festival will be robustly dealt with.
“I hope the genuine festival-goers are excited for the fantastic weekend ahead and I am confident the majority will enjoy the event responsibly and safely.”
Greater Manchester Police and Parklife security staff will be working closely together to intercept anyone travelling to the festival with criminal intentions.
The arrest on 8 June was thanks to the festival’s drug detection dogs.
In a formal statement addressing the situation, the city‘s flagship further education institution says some of its systems have been accessed by an “unauthorised party” and that data has “likely been copied” as a result of this.
The University’s in-house experts are said to be “working around the clock” to resolve the issue.
External support teams are also said to be working in collaboration with the University to understand what data has been accessed.
Patrick Hackett – Registrar, Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester – explained in a statement issued this morning: “Regrettably, I have to share with you the news that the University is the victim of a cyber incident, [as] it has been confirmed that some of our systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party and data have likely been copied.
“Our in-house experts and established expert external support are working around the clock to resolve this incident, and we are working to understand what data has been accessed”.
Mr Hackett said he understands the nature of the issue will “cause concern to members of our community”, and says the University is “very sorry for this”.
The University says it is also working with relevant authorities – including the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the National Crime Agency, and other regulatory bodies – to resolve the issue, and will provide information to those affected as soon as they are able to.
Students and staff are also be told to be vigilant to any suspicious phishing emails within the coming days – with the University’s IT Services team having published some relevant advice to refer to.