To quote from the NATS circular:
“The Manchester Low Level Route is Class D airspace within which the UK CAA have exempted aircraft from requiring an ATC clearance to fly within the route providing they fly in accordance with certain specified conditions. The previous CAA exemption with the specified conditions was ORS4 1479 (issued on 20th March 2020), with a revised exemption (ORS4 1489) issued on 20th May 2021.
Basically, to fly within the Manchester Low Level Route (day or night) without ATC clearance, the specified conditions are that the pilot needs to fly:
· in accordance with the Visual Flight Rules;
· in a flight visibility of 5km or more;
· at an indicated speed of 140 kts or less;
· if the aircraft is transponder & radio equipped, squawk 7366 and monitor Manchester Radar 118.580 MHz.
If an aircraft is non-transponder equipped, the pilot can still fly in the Low Level Route without an ATC clearance (subject to the above conditions), but the pilot must monitor Manchester Radar, 118.580MHz.
If an aircraft is non-transponder and non-radio equipped, the pilot can also still fly in the Low Level Route without an ATC clearance providing they comply with the above conditions.
It's the preference of Manchester ATC that pilots use the above options whenever possible (ie flying within the Low Level Route in compliance with the specified conditions without an ATC clearance), and in effect, it's a similar modus operandi to previously.
No ATC service is provided to aircraft flying within the LLR in accordance with the above conditions and all such aircraft are responsible for providing their own separation against all other aircraft in the Low Level Route at all times.
If a pilot is unable to comply with the above conditions, they must contact Manchester Radar for an individual ATC clearance to fly within the Manchester CTR/LLR, or Liverpool Approach if wishing to fly within the Liverpool CTR.
Pilots should not request a Basic service in the Low Level Route as this is not available inside Class D controlled airspace – if Manchester Radar are able to issue an individual clearance, a Radar Control Service will be provided.
Just to clarify, aircraft cannot fly without ATC clearance within the Manchester Low Level Route with 7000 or any other airfield's squawk selected (including the London FIS code) - since they're then not operating in accordance with the conditions specified by the UK CAA. Also, the previous 7364 squawk procedure for aircraft flying SVFR is no longer valid, since the above conditions are now only applicable to aircraft flying VFR. All SVFR flight will require an individual ATC clearance, and is unlikely to be granted within the confines of the Low Level Route unless absolutely necessary.
Please also note para i) in the briefing document, which mentions that pilots should be aware of the possibility of wake turbulence when flying within the Manchester Low Level Route, particularly when flying in the vicinity of the Liverpool and Manchester extended runway centrelines. Pilots operating in the Low Level Route in accordance with the above conditions will not be passed wake turbulence warnings.
Finally for information, the Holmes Chapel VRP will be removed from 12th Aug 2021 (due to confusion with the VRP not being sited at Holmes Chapel, but instead at a railway bridge over the M6) and replaced with a VRP at (and named) M6 Sandbach Services.”