MOTORISTS from the borough should think less about themselves and act on behalf of their city by voting for the £5-a-day congestion charge.

That is the view of businessman Ken Knott, who was among the key speakers at the launch of a group hoping to persuade residents to put through dramatic changes to transport at the end of the year.

With three months to go before Bury residents and join people living in the county’s other nine boroughs have to post off their voting slips, a coalition of business people, politicians and blue-collar workers have set up their own company, called The Greater Manchester Yes Campaign Ltd, with its own city-centre office and campaign website.

It’s aiming to persuade residents that they would get around quicker and have a better quality of life if there is an investment of up to £3 billion in public transport made possibly by charging motorists up to £5 a day to access and leave the city centre at rush hour.

At the launch of the group, at Dean House in Rochdale last Thursday (Sep 11), Ken Knott, who is property developer, said all independent research showed the congestion charge would work.He pointed to an independent Mori poll, which said 49 per cent of people questioned said they would vote for the charge, while other research shows 90 per cent of people would not pay the congestion charge.

The Bury Times asked Mr Knott whether these figures could be relied upon, given that the survey could have been done at a time when motorists being asked to pay the charge would not be able to take part.

We also pointed out some ‘no’ campaigners have alleged that. apart from a possible £17 million relaunch of the East Lancashire Railway line as a commuter route into Manchester, Bury would get nothing from the investment.

Mr Knott said: “Mori is a reputable conductor of large-scale research and I am sure it would have conducted this research appropriately to get an accurate cross section of the public who will be voting by post in December.

“Bury would not just be getting the ELR line. It would also be getting better bus links, many more carriages on the Metrolink as well as beneficial park-and-ride schemes and the yellow school buses.

“But it is also getting the knock-on effect from the benefit of taking traffic off the roads in other area. Bury motorists travel across the borough, so they will see a benefit.

“There is a benefit for every borough in the city and, as congestion is such a serious issue, Bury people should think of this in terms of the benefit for the whole city, rather than just their town.”

Also joining Yes campaign is Rochdale MP Paul Rowen and Ancoats and Clayton Ward councillor Jim Battle.