THE death knell was finally sounded for the congestion charge when all ten council leaders in Greater Manchester formally voted No.

Their decision on Friday followed a region-wide referendum in which residents voted 4 to 1 against the Transport Innovation Fund scheme.

Seven out of ten local authorities had to support the project, but none of the council leaders chose to go against their electorate.

The TIF bid would have brought in nearly £2.8 billion for public transport, including £1.5 billion from the government and £1.2 billion paid back through a weekday, peak-time congestion charge.

However, Bury councillors have still pledged to fight for public transport improvements in the borough.

Bury Council leader Bob Bibby said: “We’ve always been against congestion charging, but our view is that the £1.5 billion the government promised should still be available for transportation in Greater Manchester, and we’re going to lobby to that effect.

“It’s important we get it, particularly in the context of a recession and because regional economic development needs to be promulgated.”

Coun Bibby said the region’s leaders would now look again at the priorities outlined in the three-year local transport plan.

They may also revisit some investment projects where a strong business case exists.