Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan

A new Clean Air Plan

Cleaning up our air

Like many areas across the country, we have illegal levels of air pollution on local roads in Greater Manchester (GM). Poor air quality affects everyone's health, particularly the most vulnerable people in society: 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 GM every year.

We're committed to cleaning up the air our residents breathe - but in a way that helps people to make the change to cleaner vehicles and does not put jobs, livelihoods and businesses at risk.

The Clean Air Zone

The original GM Clean Air Plan included a Greater Manchester-wide category C charging Clean Air Zone. Only the most polluting vehicles which don't meet emission standards would have been charged to drive in the Zone.

The Clean Air Zone was designed to comply with a legal direction from government issued before the coronavirus pandemic. Since then there have been significant vehicle supply chain issues, particularly for vans, and the cost of living has increased.

This means that the original Clean Air Plan was unworkable. It would not have met the obligations in the direction to achieve compliance with the legal limit for harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) air pollution by 2024 and could have caused significant financial hardship for people affected.

Case for a new Clean Air Plan

In February 2022 government agreed to lift the legal direction that GM should achieve compliance with legal NO₂ limits in the shortest possible time and by 2024 at the latest. It has issued a new direction for compliance in the shortest possible time and by 2026 at the latest. As a result, the first phase of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone didn’t go ahead on 30 May 2022.

GM local authorities have submitted the case for a new Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan (GM CAP), with no charging Clean Air Zone, to government. A response is expected from government after the new Prime Minister is in place. Private cars, motorbikes and mopeds are NOT included in Greater Manchester's Clean Air Plans. 

The submission includes:

  • Evidence that economic conditions have deteriorated significantly since the previous Clean Air Plan was agreed in summer 2021, with businesses in Greater Manchester now dealing with the cost-of-living crisis, higher inflation and high vehicle fuel costs.

  • New analysis which shows how an investment-led approach could see financial support targeted towards upgrading vehicles which frequently travel through locations where modelling shows breaches of legal NO₂ limits might otherwise continue.

  • A commitment to review local policy changes, such as goods vehicle access controls, alongside regulatory measures such as hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licensing standards to accelerate fleet upgrades.

  • A proposal to work with government to agree the targeted use of Clean Air Plan automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to support identification of vehicles that could be upgraded, and also for potential police use to detect crime.

Next steps

While GM waits for feedback from government, participatory policy development will take place with key stakeholders to develop and shape the new Clean Air Plan Policy, including proposals for funding support.  A public consultation on the new Clean Air Plan proposals will then take place in early 2023, subject to government feedback.  

£120m in government funding to help people upgrade to compliant vehicles will remain in place to support implementation of a new Plan.

For more information on the case for a new Clean Air Plan, see the news release from 29 June 2022. The 17 August 2022 Greater Manchester Air Quality Administration Committee meeting includes a Clean Air Plan update report, the full Case and supporting information. 

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Financial support to upgrade to cleaner vehicles

GM has secured £120m in government funding to help eligible owners of vehicles which would be non-compliant in a Clean Air Zone upgrade to compliant vehicles. Government has said this funding will continue to be available for the new Clean Air Plan.

Clean Bus Fund

To register for bus funding, visit the Clean Bus Fund portal.

Clean Air Financial Support Scheme for HGVs

To apply for HGV funding, visit the Financial Support Scheme portal.

HGV funding applications are open to all eligible vehicle owners, including small businesses. Please read the key facts information and terms and conditions before starting your HGV application. HGV owners who have had their funding application approved can source a compliant replacement vehicle only from accredited dealerships.

Funding for LGVs, minibuses, coaches and taxis

Funding under the previous plan for eligible owners of LGVs, minibuses, coaches not used on a registered bus service, and hackney carriages and private hire vehicles licensed in GM was due to open at the end of January 2022, but has been paused.

We know that some people had made plans to upgrade their vehicle and placed orders in preparation for these funds opening. Vehicle owners who had already placed orders can contact Clean Air GM on 0161 244 1333 or for advice to ensure they are not detrimentally affected by the decision to pause the opening of the funds. Awards can be made where appropriate.

As the new Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan policy is shaped and informed by stakeholder engagement, delivery of Clean Air funding support is under review.

The case for a new non-charging Clean Air Plan would see financial support targeted at upgrading category B vehicles, which includes buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs and HGVs. Funding is NOT proposed for vans, LGVs and minibuses (unless a minibus is licensed as a PHV), as these are category C classified vehicles.  

The funding amounts and eligibility will be thoroughly explored through the participatory policy approach in the coming months. Please sign up for updates on the latest funding news.

Exemptions and discounts

Applications for local exemptions from daily Clean Air Zone charges, and applications for daily charge discounts, have been paused while we develop a new Clean Air Plan with government. If you've already applied for an exemption or discount, you don't need to take any action.

Please sign up for updates for the latest news on exemptions and discounts.

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.

Find out more

Are you a vehicle dealer?

You can get involved in the Financial Support Scheme by becoming an accredited vehicle dealer.

Find out more

Sign up for updates

Keep up to date with the latest Clean Air Plan news.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is the Data Controller of personal information provided in this form.

Technical documents, reports and FAQs