Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan proposals

Greater Manchester is working hard to tackle air pollution, which is damaging our health.

Unless we take action, roads across Greater Manchester will continue to have dangerously high levels of pollutants including harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This can contribute to a wide range of illnesses and health conditions.

The government has instructed Greater Manchester and many other areas to develop Clean Air Plans to bring levels of NO2 on local roads within legal limits as soon as possible.

So Greater Manchester is now working together to produce a single approach for the whole region.

We have considered a wide range of measures that could help reduce roadside NO2 levels and carried out extensive work to help develop a proposed package of measures.

These measures would tackle the roadside NO2 issue as quickly and effectively as possible, while also protecting local people, businesses and the economy. Read on to find out more about our progress.

Vehicle renewal schemes, clean vehicle funds and loan finance


We are proposing a number of government-funded schemes to help Greater Manchester HGV, bus and coach, taxi, private hire vehicle operators and businesses upgrade to cleaner vehicles.

  • Clean Freight Fund: £59m for HGVs, vans and some coaches
  • Clean Bus Fund: £29m for operators of registered bus services
  • Clean Taxi Fund: £28m for taxis and private hire vehicles
  • Greater Manchester loan scheme: FSA-regulated loans and at preferential rates for those who are taking advantage of the clean vehicle funds

If we receive the full government funding and drivers make the switch to cleaner vehicles, we estimate that the vast majority of vehicles would not need to pay a penalty if a Clean Air Zone was introduced.

Proposed Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone (CAZ)

The government has said that we need to consider introducing a Clean Air Zone or Zones (CAZ). These are areas where targeted action is taken to improve air quality, by discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering the zone.

No vehicle is banned from travelling in a CAZ. But vehicles which do not have clean enough engines would have to pay a daily penalty if they travel in the area.

The funding to help Greater Manchester freight companies, bus and coach operators, taxi and private hire drivers and businesses move to cleaner vehicles would need to be followed by the introduction of a Clean Air Zone to help meet legal targets to clean up our air as quickly as possible.

We are proposing a Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone that would not affect cars, apart from private hire vehicles (PHVs).

This is because commercial and passenger transport vehicles are used much more intensively, and are often operating in town and city centres with greater frequency, so the benefit of cleaning them up is far greater.

All vehicle types were considered in the development of the current proposals, which are based around the requirement to achieve legal levels of NO2 on Greater Manchester’s local road network in the shortest possible time. Read more.

The Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone would be introduced in two phases:

Phase 1: (from 2021) daily penalty for non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
Phase 2: (from 2023) expanding to non-compliant vans, minibuses, motorhomes and motorised horseboxes

As well as cars, motorbikes and mopeds, the following vehicles wouldn’t be liable for a penalty payment as their engines are cleaner.

  • Ultra low emission vehicles
  • Bus/HGV – Diesel Euro 6 engine (from 2013)
  • Van and minibus – Diesel Euro 6 (from 2016)
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles – Diesel Euro 6 (2015 onwards)
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles – Petrol Euro 4 (2005 onwards)

Exemptions or discounts would also apply, details of which will be developed through engagement and consultation with businesses and residents.

There would be a daily penalty for non-compliant vehicles entering the proposed Clean Air Zone. The following indicative daily penalties are estimates for the proposals. They will be further considered and informed through engagement and consultation activity.

  • HGVs, buses and coaches – £100 from 2021
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles – £7.50 from 2021
  • Vans, minibuses, motorhomes and motorised horseboxes – £7.50 from 2023

See if your vehicle could be affected on our Clean Air Zone vehicle checker.

Other measures to support cleaner travel choices

We’re proposing a range of supporting measures to help Greater Manchester’s people and businesses clean up our air. This includes:

  • Funding and support to help Greater Manchester move to electric vehicles.
  • Helping Greater Manchester switch to greener transport.
  • Local authority and Greater Manchester fleet upgrades (e.g. gritters, park maintenance vehicles).
  • A review of council parking policies.
  • Working with operators to support increased bus travel.

Give us your views

The 10 local authorities have now considered the Clean Air Plan Outline Business Case and it has been submitted to government.

The Clean Air Plan will be developed in more detail over the coming months, and we would like your feedback to help us develop the right solutions for Greater Manchester.

You can take part in the conversation now and share your views on our proposals to improve air quality by filling out our Clean Air Plan proposals survey.

If you want to know more, you can see further detail on the plan on this website and you can also download a PDF document which summarises our proposals to improve air quality in Greater Manchester before filling out the survey.

The conversation is open between Monday 13 May and midnight on Sunday 30 June 2019.

A statutory public consultation will also follow, giving another opportunity for comment and feedback.

All of this feedback will be taken into account before proposals are resubmitted to local authorities for their further consideration and approval.

A Full Business Case would then be developed by the end of 2019. Subject to government funding, measures would be introduced by 2021.

Keep up-to-date

You can keep up-to-date on our proposals:

Further background information

Read A summary of our proposals to improve air quality for Greater Manchester (PDF format)
Read A summary of our proposals to improve air quality for Greater Manchester (RTF format)
Read GMCA reports
Read Outline Business Case
Read Strategic Outline Case