Bus and coach

Greater Manchester has been directed by government to introduce a ‘Category C’ Clean Air Zone on local roads to reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide air pollution. This means that some commercial and passenger vehicles would need to pay a daily charge to drive in the Greater Manchester-wide Zone, which is expected to be introduced from spring 2022.

That includes vans, buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses and heavy goods vehicles that do not meet emission standards. You could be affected if you own or drive a vehicle classed as a bus or coach in Greater Manchester.

Next steps

We’re working with government to secure a multi-million-pound funding package to support local businesses and organisations to upgrade to compliant vehicles before the Clean Air Zone is introduced.

A public consultation on these proposals took place between 8 October and 3 December 2020. Further work is also taking place to understand the economic impact of COVID-19 on people and businesses affected by the plans, as this may alter the level of support funding needed from government.

This will help shape the final Clean Air Plan, which will be put to decision makers in the ten Greater Manchester local authorities as soon as possible and no later than summer 2021. Please read on for more information and check back for updates.

Your vehicle could be affected if it is a bus or coach with more than 16 passenger seats.

A vehicle designed to carry passengers with between eight and 16 passenger seats is legally classed as a minibus. If your minibus is used on registered bus services you could be eligible to apply to the Clean Bus Fund. More information is below.

If you drive a minibus as a private hire vehicle or hackney carriage, please visit the taxis and private hire vehicles page.

If your minibus is not used on a registered bus service or licensed as a taxi, please visit the LGV page.

If your bus or coach has a Euro V (5) or earlier engine (typically registered before 2013), that has not been retrofitted to a compliant standard, you will be required to pay a proposed daily charge of £60 to drive within the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone from spring 2022. Unpaid charges would result in an additional Penalty Charge Notice of £120 being issued in addition to the unpaid daily charge (reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days).

If you own a bus or a coach registered to a business address within Greater Manchester that is not used on a registered bus service, you will be eligible to apply for a temporary local exemption until 31 December 2022.

Use our vehicle checker to see if a vehicle is likely to be charged.

It is proposed that daily charges would apply for each day a non-compliant vehicle is used within the GM Clean Air Zone. One charge would be imposed per vehicle, per ‘Charging Day’ (midnight to midnight), however much a vehicle drives within the Zone in that 24-hour period.

Owners or registered keepers of non-compliant vehicles used within the Zone will be required to pay the relevant charge via a central government payment portal.

The government intends that a user can pay seven days in advance, including the journey date, or seven days retrospectively including the journey date.

The Government has asked Greater Manchester to progress the Clean Air Plan based on proposals developed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to reduced air pollution in the short term. Analysis has shown that this will not be enough to meet legal limits for harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions in the longer term without a Clean Air Zone.

Work is under way to assess and understand all the information gathered through the 2020 consultation. Further work is also taking place to understand the economic impact of COVID-19 on people and businesses affected by the plans, as this may alter the level of support funding needed from government.

Clean Bus Fund: funding to support operators

Greater Manchester is asking for a £25m Clean Bus Fund to support the move to cleaner, compliant buses and coaches. Government has already awarded £14.7m to support the retrofit of vehicles running registered bus services in Greater Manchester. An additional £9m has been requested from Government to support the replacement of non-compliant vehicles which have no retrofit solution available.

More information will be provided when available.

Grants for retrofit

Grants of up to £16,000 per vehicle will be available towards retrofitting to a compliant standard. They will be administered through an extension of the existing system in place under the Clean Bus Technology Fund (CBTF).

Retrofit grants will be available to operators of locally registered bus services within Greater Manchester, including those using minibuses and coaches. This includes cross-boundary services operating within the Clean Air Zone boundary, even if the vehicle is registered outside of Greater Manchester.

There is no proposed cap on vehicles per applicant.

Eligible operators of registered bus services can register to apply now.

Grants for replacement vehicles

Eligible owners of buses and coaches operating locally registered bus services within Greater Manchester, will also be able to apply for funding for the replacement of vehicles that can’t be retrofitted.

It is proposed that a grant of up to £16,000 is offered towards replacement with a compliant vehicle.

There is no proposed cap on vehicles per applicant.

Clean Commercial Vehicle Fund: Including coaches

Eligible owners of coaches registered in Greater Manchester will also be able to apply for funding through the Clean Commercial Vehicle Fund. This will be either:

  • A grant of up to £16,000 towards retrofit to a compliant standard via a Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) certified system.

OR

  • A grant of up to £16,000 towards replacement with a compliant coach.

OR

  • Access to vehicle finance, offering a zero percent or low-cost loan for up to 90% of the value of the vehicle.

It is proposed that there will be a cap of 10 vehicles per applicant.

Coach owners may also be eligible to access the proposed Hardship Fund.

Hardship Fund

Greater Manchester is proposing a Hardship Fund of at least £10m. This will support individuals, companies and organisations who are assessed to be most economically vulnerable to the proposed Clean Air Zone daily charges. We’re currently considering the scope and scale of support required. Vehicles on registered bus services will not be able to access the proposed Hardship Fund.

Feedback through the autumn 2020 consultation about the impact of COVID-19 will help inform the amount of hardship funding that needs to be made available.

Check your vehicle

The category C Clean Air Zone vehicle categories and minimum emission standards are set out in the Clean Air Zone framework in Appendix 1 of the consultation document.*

Has your vehicle been retrofitted to meet the Euro retro 6 standard?

*The Clean Air Plan proposals are still being developed, so the results of this vehicle checker are only a guide. In the meantime, please contact us at info@cleanairgm.com if your vehicle type isn’t listed.

Your answer...

Fill in the questions to see what class of vehicle you own and whether you would have to pay a daily charge to travel in the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone.

*The Clean Air Plan proposals are still being developed, so the results of this vehicle checker are only a guide. In the meantime, please contact us at info@cleanairgm.com if your vehicle type isn’t listed.

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