CAMPAIGNERS say thousands have signed a petition opposing a petition a proposed 'clean air zone' by Greater Manchester's mayor.

Laura Evans, Tory candidate for the mayoralty, says the plans by Labour's Andy Burnham will "cripple" small businesses.

She established a petition against such moves last month, which has been signed by more than 2,000 people to date.

And she said: "I want to protect our environment and reduce congestion, but introducing a crippling charge is not the way forward.

“These plans will just put an extra tax on drivers which could hit jobs hard, including small businesses and the self-employed. Right when we need to give people confidence, secure jobs and get people back into work."

Her stance has won the support of Bury's two Conservative MPs.

Christian Wakeford, for Bury South, said: "When when we need to be building back better following coronavirus the Labour Mayor Andy Burnham is planning to impose a crippling new tax affecting almost every business in Radcliffe, Whitefield and Prestwich."

James Daly (Bury North) added: "We need to look at ways to protect the environment, but not to the detriment of small firms and taxi drivers who would end up suffering if these plans went ahead.”