I WELCOME the recent announcement on delivering a Clean Air Plan for Greater Manchester.

Air pollution is a serious issue in Bury and requires a serious response to protect our environment and health.

We already know that Crostons Road and Brandlesholme Road in Elton are among the worst polluted roads in the region and will breach legal limits for air quality by 2020 unless action is taken.

Therefore, a Clean Air Zone for Greater Manchester, which would see the most polluting vehicles charged a daily rate to enter into the city region, is a welcome stop forward in cleaning up our roads.

However, I know that businesses, in particular our small businesses that are the lifeblood of Bury's economy, will have concerns around where the burden of cost will fall to introduce a new Clear Air Zone.

I share these concerns and want to make sure we get a deal that works for Bury.

That's why this Clean Air Zone must be backed by new Government investment in clean and green HGVs, buses, vans and taxis.

Our businesses need to be supported to transition to less-polluting vehicles and our outdated bus network needs a green revolution.

Small business owners and independent traders should not be forced to pick up the tab.

Ministers have handed down the responsibility for cleaning up the air we breathe to local authorities and councils like Bury ­— whose budget has been slashed by almost £100 million since 2010 ­— simply cannot afford to do this without the Government putting its money where its mouth is.

Charlotte Morris

Labour Party candidate for Elton