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Andy Burnham tells business owners ‘help is on the table’ amid concerns Clean Air Zone will ‘bankrupt’ them

‘We have no choice but to bring in these measures to cut air pollution’

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BBC Radio Manchester & Pete Birkinshaw / Wikimedia Commons

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has reassured business owners across the region that ‘help is on the table’ amid Clean Air Zone concerns.

Appearing on BBC Radio Manchester this morning, the mayor was quizzed by a number of business owners and workers who are concerned about the Clean Air Zone scheme set to be implemented in May this year.

The scheme, which aims to clean up air pollution in all ten Greater Manchester boroughs by 2024, will charge vehicles that don’t meet emission standards to drive within the Clean Air Zone. This zone will cover 493 square miles of the region, making it the largest of its kind in the whole country. 

With some vehicles facing charges of £60 per day, a number of working people from across the region called in to quiz the mayor on what he plans to do to help keep their businesses afloat amid the extra costs.

A man known as Nigel called into the radio station from Wigan, explaining that he owns a coach company with seven vehicles, all of which will cost him an extra £153,300 per year once the Clean Air Zone charges are in place. 

Nigel pointed out that his business ‘won’t survive’ with these extra changes, saying they ‘will definitely make us go bankrupt’. 

Burnham responded by saying after the coach industry was impacted in the pandemic, there is a public subsidy available to help these kinds of businesses and others upgrade their vehicles, noting that while this subsidy still isn’t enough, the situation is being reviewed and ‘help is on the table’. 

He continued: “The pandemic has caused a real problem for a number of our businesses and we have been reviewing that, we’ve been looking at those issues and leaders in Greater Manchester will be meeting next week to discuss where to go from here.

“It’s a challenging situation… But we have no choice but to bring in these measures to cut air pollution as it’s an instruction from the government. We want to do it in the right way that cleans up the air and help our businesses.”

Mark, an ice cream van business owner from Tameside, also called in to voice his own concerns, pointing out that his business may be forced to close for the first time in 100 years.

He said: “Eight vans going out six days a week will cost £480, that’ll be £24,960 a year. Now we can’t afford that. We’ve been running for 100 years, and you’ve brought this tax in after the government told you to bring the pollution down. This scheme is your idea. We’re going to go out of business.”

Burnham stressed that the Clean Air Zone scheme isn’t something he ‘dreamt up’ nor is it his ‘tax on working people’; he pointed out that it is actually a result of the government instructing cities to introduce measures to cut air pollution by 2024.

He said: “I am trying to facilitate a solution between national and local governments. We need to find a solution. I recognise that you’re in a difficult situation, that’s why I was asking people to do a review of the situation so we could provide the help to people that’s needed. 

“In my political career, I have never been somebody who doesn’t listen or doesn’t speak up for working people. I do speak up for working people, and I take great pride in that.”

A woman named Julie sent in her query on Facebook, explaining that while she isn’t a Greater Manchester resident, her job requires her to commute into Rochdale every day. 

She wrote: “I own a company that uses small shops and traders in Rochdale. I am not entitled to apply for the grant as I’m not a Greater Manchester resident. Do I take my trade an extra five miles the other way? This is hitting small traders.”

At this, Burnham explained that he is in a similar situation as he too lives close to the Greater Manchester border, stressing that the situation will be reviewed and that he will be going back to the government to urge them to do more.

A joint statement by Burnham and Councillor Andrew Western added that they are fighting for the scheme to be ‘accompanied by a fair package of financial support’, saying that while the government has provided £120m, they are concerned that they have so far failed to agree to a request for additional support.

Read the statement in full here.

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Man to complete visiting every Wetherspoon pub in Britain and Ireland this week

Now he only has one final pub left to visit

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David Bingham

A man will complete his visit to every Wetherspoon pub in Britain and Ireland this week as he sips his final pint to conclude his mission.

Most people like to see how far they can make it in a pub crawl but David Bingham, 60, decided to take it much further than that.

The Derbyshire man, who set out on the task in 2019, will conclude his journey of sipping a pint at all 875 Wetherspoon venues this week, including the 40 that have closed. 

Now he only has one final pub left to visit, and he’s booked a flight at the South Terminal in Gatwick Airport in order to tick it off his long list.

David Bingham

The last of the boozers will be The Flying Horse, which is conveniently located right after security at the airport. Wetherspoons has praised his dedication.

Mr Bingham, from West Hallam, has said his other passions are trainspotting and following Burton Albion. He took on the challenge while also pursuing his other hobbies. Mr Bingham told the BBC: “If we were going somewhere new, I’d suss out the Wetherspoons.”

His partner Una Cooper bought him a directory of the pubs and he began ticking them off. “I’ve had a drink in most pubs, I’d say 85%,” he said. 

David Bingham

“I’m a lager lad, definitely. The one in Ramsgate [in the Royal Victoria Pavilion] is my favourite because the history behind that building is incredible.

“But there are five police stations, there are churches, there’s chapels, there’s a tram depot, there’s a fire station.

“They just save these fantastic buildings. I love architecture and I love buildings. It’s a history lesson.”

David Bingham

Wetherspoon spokesman, Eddie Gershon, said: “We applaud David Bingham on his outstanding achievement.

“Many people love to visit Wetherspoon pubs across the UK and Ireland, but only a handful have visited each and every one. David will now join that select group.

“He has obviously put in a lot of time and effort into achieving his goal and we thank him for his dedication to our pubs.”

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108-year-old reveals secret to long life is having dogs not kids

She was inundated with almost 300 cards to wish her a ‘happy birthday’

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BBC & Ashmere Derbyshire / Facebook

An elderly woman has celebrated her 108th birthday and revealed her secret to having a long life was having dogs rather than children.

Ada Daniel has lived at Codnor Park Care Home, Derbyshire, since 2015. Knowing the centenarian had a very impressive birthday coming up, staff at her home put the news out there and appealed for 108 birthday cards.

But Ada was inundated with nearly 300 cards — showing what a popular lady she is.

She also received a very special card from the King and Queen to mark her big day.

Ashmere Derbyshire / Facebook

Ada couldn’t believe it as she said: “Three hundred? Ooh, gracious! Can’t believe it. Can’t believe it.”

Staff surprised her with a private birthday party which included an afternoon tea and numerous balloons which had been donated during the appeal to make her day extra special.

Kelly Goucher, activity co-ordinator at Ashmere, the company which runs the home, told the BBC:Ada hasn’t got a lot of family left.

“She never had any children so she doesn’t have any grandchildren so we just wanted to get her as many cards as possible. She quite likes the fact that people know about her because of her age.”

Ashmere Derbyshire / Facebook

It was Kelly who decided to launch the appeal for 108 birthday cards on Facebook. She said she was shocked at the number of people who responded and wanted to send Ada their well wishes.

She said: “I woke up to 135 messages the following morning of people wanting to send cards. 

Kelly also went on to explain that Ada didn’t have children but instead owned a lot of pet pooches. “She had a lot of greyhounds,” she said.

Adding: “She’s definitely a character. I did ask her what her secret was once and she said it was ‘to have dogs, not kids’.”

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Boy, 11, seriously hurt in horror dog attack in Manchester

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward

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Wikimedia & Google Maps

An 11-year-old boy has been seriously hurt after being attacked by a dog in Manchester.

The incident happened on Sunday afternoon (June 4th) in Swanley Avenue, Monsall and emergency services, including an air ambulance were in attendance.

Greater Manchester Police have said the young boy sustained injuries which were not life-threatening in the attack.

A 35-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of having a dog dangerously out of control and the animal was also seized, officers said.

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A cordon was put in place along Swanley Avenue, with a number of police vehicles and ambulances at the scene in the immediate aftermath. GMP are now asking for witnesses to come forward.

Officers have appealed for any CCTV, mobile or dashcam footage. Superintendent Nicola Williams said the ‘awful attack’ had left the boy’s family ‘incredibly distressed’.

She added: “I understand the concern an incident of this nature will cause in the wider community, and I want to reassure you we will carry out an extensive investigation into what has happened.

Google Maps

“The dog has been secured and we have made an arrest of a woman who remains in police custody.”

Members of the public can give information by calling 0161 856 1146, quoting log 1530 of June 4th 2023, or use the LiveChat function on GMP’s website: www.gmp.police.uk. Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


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