Sheep gets on bus in protest at ‘baaaaaaa-rmy’ traffic scheme proposals

Plans to introduce a clean air zone for vehicles in Manchester have been slammed as "baaaaaaa-rmy" by a campaigner who took a sheep on a bus in protest.

A Shetland pony called Ernie and its owner also took a trip.

Great Manchester Authority bosses are looking to implement a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to reduce pollution in the city.

This would see some older, more polluting vehicles facing a daily charge of between £7 and £60 to drive there.

Some business say the cost of upgrading their vehicles would bankrupt them and the proposal has led to a storm of protest.

Shepherdess and livestock trader Jade Hutchinson, 22, from Radcliffe, Bury, told the Manchester Evening news: "The event was to create awareness of the impact the CAZ will cause, not only to the public and businesses, but the animals that rely on it.

"The vehicles that do not comply are widely used by farmers, animal shelters, equestrians and so on. They're required to tend to the animals, feed them, check them and take them to the vets.

"The CAZ will devastate non-profit organisations which rely on these vehicles.

"There are approximately 32 yards, farms and small holdings within a five-mile radius of Bradley Fold, where I demonstrated. Each one will be affected.

"They may not be big farms, but they still mean so much to our country behind the scenes."

The animal's 'field trip' into town lasted just five minutes, was held near the animals' homes and they were not distressed by the publicity stunt.

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Supporters of the plan say air pollution is a public health crisis which contributes towards 1,200 deaths a year in Greater Manchester.

In March 2020, the government ordered the council to take action in the worst affected area but the council could now apply to pause the scheme to seek more financial help for those affected by it.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Everyone deserves to breathe clean air but we have always said this cannot be at the expense of those who cannot afford to upgrade their vehicles.

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“Clean air can only be achieved by the right package of financial support to help people upgrade their vehicles, and evidence highlights significant challenges in this area. We are worried about what this could mean for those businesses and individuals impacted, and their ability to upgrade as well as our ability to deliver the clean air plan.

“I want to reassure all those people who have been in touch that we are listening to you, and we will make sure your voices are heard."

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