Bus and coach

Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone

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 those commercial and passenger vehicles which do not meet emissions standards, would need to pay a daily charge to drive in the Greater Manchester-wide Zone, which is anticipated to be introduced on 30 May 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. It is proposed that all coaches would be temporarily exempt from the daily Clean Air Zone charge until 31 May 2023.

Next steps

The final Clean Air Plan has now been published, following a review of all the information gathered through the 8-week long public consultation in 2020 and wider data, evidence and modelling work. The plan will be considered by ten GM local authorities by the end of July 2021.

Greater Manchester has secured a multi-million-pound funding package to support local businesses and organisations to upgrade to compliant vehicles before the Clean Air Zone is introduced. It is expected that, from November 2021, local businesses and organisations with non-compliant vehicles will be able to apply for funding to support them to upgrade or retrofit their vehicles.

The Clean Air Zone is anticipated to launch on 30 May 2022. It is proposed that all coaches would be temporarily exempt from the daily Clean Air Zone charge until 31 May 2023. Please 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.

The following vehicles would pay a proposed daily charge of £60 to travel in the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone from 30 May 2022:

• Buses with a Euro V (5) or earlier diesel engine

The following vehicles would qualify for a temporary exemption from paying the daily charge of £60:

  • Coaches and buses not used on a registered bus service in Greater Manchester with a Euro V (5) or earlier diesel engine (owners would need to apply for this exemption) until 31 May 2023.
  • Buses with a Euro V (5) or earlier diesel engine operating on Greater Manchester school bus contracts starting before 31 March 2019 will be exempt to the end of July 2022.

Unpaid charges would result in liability to pay an additional Penalty Charge Notice of £120 in addition to the unpaid daily charge (reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days).

The following vehicles would qualify for a permanent local exemption from the charge:

  • Driver training buses
  • Heritage buses more than 20 years old not used for hire or reward (owners would need to apply for this exemption)

There are also national exemptions for certain types of vehicles. For further details, see the government’s Clean Air Zone guidance.

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.

It is expected that, from November 2021, local businesses and organisations with non-compliant vehicles will be able to apply for funding to support them to upgrade or retrofit their vehicles. Please check back for updates or sign up to the CleanAirGM newsletter.

Eligible operators of registered bus services can register to apply for grants for retrofit funding now.

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 has taken place to understand the economic and financial impact of COVID-19 on people and businesses affected by the plans. The final Clean Air Plan proposals take into account evidence from the COVID-19 impacts analysis. Changes include a temporary exemption from the daily Clean Air Zone charge until 31 May 2023 for coaches and buses not used on a registered bus service in Greater Manchester.

Clean Bus Fund: funding to support bus service operators

Greater Manchester has secured £14.7m government funding for a Bus Retrofit Fund to support the retrofit of non-compliant vehicles running registered bus services in Greater Manchester. An additional £3.2m has been secured from government for a Bus Replacement Fund to support the replacement of non-compliant vehicles where no retrofit option is 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 in 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 of a non-compliant bus 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 £32,000 towards replacement with a compliant coach.

AND

  • Access to vehicle finance, offering a 0% or low-cost loan up to £32,000.

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

Check your vehicle

The category C Clean Air Zone vehicle categories and minimum emission standards are set out in Appendix A of the GM Clean Air Plan Policy. This can be found at cleanairgm.com/technical-documents*

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

* The Clean Air Plan has not yet been finalised, so the results of this vehicle checker are only a guide. The Clean Air Zone is anticipated to launch on 30 May 2022, subject to joint agreement with government on scheme readiness, including the Central Charging Portal and national vehicle checker. 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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