The scheme would have seen drivers charged up to £5 for driving in and out of the city centre at peak times. An outer ring of the zone would have extended around Manchester to the M60, while the inner area would have covered the city centre.

The money raised would have made up part of a £2.8bn investment in public transport in the city. The voters’ rejection has spelt the end of the city’s plans to get money from the Government’s Transport Innovation Fund. It is highly unlikely, however, that this money would have materialised anyway as it is believed to have already been allocated to the government’s latest white elephant, the London Olympics, which is running into serious financial difficulties.