A new Clean Air Plan
Cleaning up our air
Like many areas across the country, Greater Manchester has illegal levels of air pollution on some local roads. Poor air quality affects everyone’s health, particularly the most vulnerable people in society. That includes deprived communities, children, elderly people and those with chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. It contributes to nearly 1,200 premature deaths in Greater Manchester every year.
We’re committed to cleaning up the air our residents breathe. We plan to do this in a way that encourages a change to cleaner vehicles without putting jobs, livelihoods and businesses at risk.
Why no Clean Air Zone?
You might have seen signs for a Clean Air Zone on our roads. That’s because our first Clean Air Plan included plans for a Greater Manchester-wide category C charging Clean Air Zone.
But following the pandemic, government agreed that this charging Clean Air Zone would NOT be introduced on 30 May 2022.
That’s because the pandemic resulted in significant vehicle supply chain issues, rising vehicle prices, and a cost-of-living crisis. The original Clean Air Plan was no longer the right solution and could have caused significant financial hardship.
At the same time, it would not have met the government’s legal direction (issued before the pandemic) to tackle harmful nitrogen dioxide on local roads by 2024.
Our new investment-led plan does not include a charging-Clean Air Zone.
Case for a new Clean Air Plan
Government has directed Greater Manchester to meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide on local roads “in the shortest possible time” and by 2026 at the latest.
Greater Manchester’s investment-led Clean Air Plan aims to clean up the air we all breathe without a charging Clean Air Zone. We don’t want it to add to the cost-of-living crisis, harming local businesses or our economy.
Private cars, motorbikes and mopeds are NOT included in the case for the non-charging GM CAP.
The investment-led plan outlines:
Targeting the most polluted areas: Modelling shows that NO₂ exceedances become more localised from 2025 onwards, with breaches only forecast at specific locations in Manchester, Salford and Bury. As a result, action can be targeted at those locations suffering the worst air quality.
Targeted funding: Using the £120 million government Clean Air funding already awarded for vehicle upgrades, rather than imposing daily charges. Funding will be targeted to clean up the most polluting vehicles that travel frequently on the most polluted local roads. These are roads that are predicted to exceed legal limits for nitrogen dioxide if we don’t take action.
Cleaning up polluting buses: Nearly 90 per cent of Greater Manchester’s bus fleet already meets government emission standards thanks to the government Clean Air Bus fund. Other funding means that 100 new zero emission buses will roll out when the first regulated bus services are introduced in Wigan and Bury from September 2023. A further 170 zero-emission buses are due to run from Stockport by 2024.
Local policy changes: We will review local policies (such as goods vehicle access controls) as well as regulatory measures (such as hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licensing standards) to speed up fleet upgrades.
We expect to provide the additional evidence, which requires detailed modelling, to government by the end of June 2023.
Once we have had full, formal government feedback on our Clean Air Plan following the submission of this additional evidence, we will consider timescales for a public consultation on the plan.
What can I do to help reduce air pollution?
Are you contributing to air pollution? There are plenty of ways we can all help reduce air pollution. The single biggest thing we can all do is drive less, where possible.
See our suggestions for more simple changes you can make to reduce and avoid air pollution.Changes you can make
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