Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan

Greater Manchester is developing a Clean Air Plan to tackle harmful and illegally high levels of roadside air pollution across the city-region.

In July 2017 the Government instructed many areas across the UK to develop measures to tackle high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on local roads.

Government has identified 12 road-links in eight of the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities as likely to have levels of NO2 in breach of legal limits beyond 2020.

As the main source of NO2 is road traffic, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities to produce a single Clean Air Plan.

We’re developing the plan in collaboration with Public Health England and the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit.

Which roads are affected?

The Government used a broad-brush national air pollution model which identified road-links in Greater Manchester expected to have illegally high NO2 levels beyond 2020.

We’ve now checked their findings against much more detailed data using sophisticated prediction modelling.

This local modelling has identified 152 stretches of road likely to have levels of NO2 (more than 40 µg/m3) in breach of legal limits beyond 2020 if no action is taken.

This includes busy stretches of local roads in all 10 local authority areas.

It doesn’t include motorways and some major trunk roads. These are being dealt with separately by Highways England, which manages the Strategic Road Network.

You can see which stretches of road are affected on the interactive map below.

© Crown copyright and database rights 2018 OS 0100022610. Use of this data is subject to terms and conditions.

How we plan to improve air quality

To develop a Clean Air Plan, Greater Manchester is considering a wide range of measures that could help reduce roadside NO2 levels.

We started off with a longlist of 96 different options and used Government guidelines to shortlist the most effective measures (see table below).

We know that no single measure alone would fix the problem. The final Clean Air Plan will need to include a combination of measures.

No decision has been taken yet on which of these measures will be included in the final Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan.

Shortlisted potential measures

Shortlisted measure Details
Retrofit/upgrade public transport fleet Retrofit or upgrade vehicles to a higher Euro engine standard.
Retrofit/upgrade local authority fleets Retrofit or upgrade to a higher Euro engine standard.
Increase public transport capacity Identify specific routes where most impact will be made.
Switch Bus/HGV/LGV/GM fleet to GtL Using cleaner alternative fuels, e.g. Gas-to-Liquid (GtL).
Electric vehicle (EV) incentives Increase EV uptake through expanding the charging network or financial incentives.
Different parking charges Different charges for parking depending on the time of day, vehicle type, car-sharers and could include a workplace parking levy.
Congestion Deal – increase capacity Review existing junction improvement plans – assess impact and identify opportunities to accelerate.
Congestion Deal – encouraging alternatives Encouraging alternative travel choices through road space reallocation.
Congestion Deal – network management Changing traffic signal timing to optimise flows, reducing congestion.
Private hire and taxi alternative fuels Incentivise change to EV/Ultra-Low-Emission vehicles, increase EV infrastructure for taxis, retrofitting and increasing LPG refuelling infrastructure for taxis.
Communications campaigns Increase awareness of health and cost benefits for public and of different modes of transport, or around particular communities/schools.
Sustainable travel engagement Work with employers and individuals to encourage sustainable travel choices.
Active travel programme – infrastructure Expand and improve cycling and walking infrastructure.
Clean Air Zones – Class B, C or D Different classifications/time restriction and geographical areas to

What is a Clean Air Zone?

Some of the shortlisted measures are Clean Air Zones.

Greater Manchester has not made a decision on whether to have a Clean Air Zone/Clean Air Zones as part of its Clean Air Plan.

But Government has said that we need to consider introducing a Clean Air Zone, where some drivers with polluting vehicles would make a penalty payment to enter a designated area.

That’s because Government has identified this type of Clean Air Zone as the measure that will reduce NO2 to legal limit values “in the shortest possible time”.

So any other measure or package of measures that we consider for the Clean Air Plan would have to reduce NO2 at least as quickly as this type of Clean Air Zone would.

You can see the different types of Clean Air Zone the Government has specified below.

What next?

Greater Manchester is undertaking detailed studies and research to assess which measures should be included in the Clean Air Plan Outline Business Case.

This will include a best-performing option on how to tackle roadside NO2 in Greater Manchester in the shortest possible time, whilst complying with legal and statutory duties and in accordance with public law principles.

Work will continue throughout 2019 to finalise the Clean Air Plan. This may include a public consultation, depending on the package of measures in the plan.

The final package of measures in the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan will be decided by the 10 local authorities and the GMCA.

Once the final plan is agreed, we’ll bid for money from the Government’s Clean Air Fund to introduce measures to improve air quality as quickly as possible.

Find out more about work already under way in Greater Manchester to help reduce air pollution.