Council Leader reports back on Transport Meeting!

February 1, 2007 6:00 PM
Councillor Alan Taylor with his Colleague - Brian Ashworth

Councillor Alan Taylor with his Colleague - Brian Ashworth

Councillor Alan Taylor, the Leader of Rochdale Council attended a meeting of AGMA (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) to discuss Congestion Charging on Friday. One thing he got stung for was driving, albeit car sharing with Roger Ellis, the Chief Executive of Rochdale Borough Council.

He said, "Well, I got well and truly collared last week as I attended a meeting of AGMA (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) as ever I car shared with Roger Ellis, the excellent Chief Executive of our Council. The meeting in Bury started early and we agreed to drive up together. The meeting was to discuss the idea of Congestion Charging and featured the Leaders of all 10 Authorities in Greater Manchester. These meetings are usually really positive and this was no different. This one had more of a focus on it than usual because the contentious issue of Congestion Charging was on the menu. Yes, it's true all 10 Council Leaders travelled by car which was picked up by a local paper. They ran this as a front page headline on Saturday and I had to explain that because of poor public transport I travelled by car. That just illustrated my point though - public transport needs to be improved before congestion charging comes in.

That is why at my meeting with Councillor Brian Millard, the Lib Dem Leader of Stockport Council we agreed to that 4 key tests need to be met - They are (a) Significant investment in public transport (b) Congestion Charging must not undermine the competitiveness of Town Centres including Heywood (c) The businesses in Greater Manchester must be on board and (d) That any Congestion Charging must be relevant to where congestion actually is. We forced the AGMA Leaders to accept this and wait with baited breath the next developments. I will also be chasing to see what benefits there is for the whole Borough. It is vital that Heywood benefits from any Congestion Charge and that means significant investment in public transport in Heywood."