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Support stalls for Manchester congestion charge

Bury council has become the third authority to withdraw its support for Greater Manchester's congestion charge proposals.

Councillors passed a motion stating that the council would be "against the Transport Innovation Fund Bid if congestion charges are included in the final offer from the government".

Labour abstained from the vote, leaving the Liberal Democrats and ruling Conservatives to support the motion.

Bury's U-turn on its decision to back the Transport Innovation Fund bid in July, leaves seven of Greater Manchester's 10 local authorities in favour of road pricing in return for £3bn of public transport improvements.

If supported in principal by the Government next year, the TIF bid would require ratification by a two-thirds majority among the ten councils for it to go ahead. Stockport and Trafford are already against the TIF and the withdrawal of one more council would scupper the bid.

Cllr Roger Jones, chairman of Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, said: "The current position is that AGMA voted to support the submission of a TIF bid earlier this year. The Department for Transport is appraising it and we expect to hear back from them early in 2008.

"The conclusion of that appraisal will obviously determine our response and the form of strategy for public consultation.

"If the DfT accepts AGMA's TIF bid there will be a period of public consultation and AGMA would then be asked to make a further decision about the TIF proposals.

"It is just premature to talk about any single aspect of this decision making process, before even hearing back from the DfT."

A decision from the Government is expected in March.

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