Proposal for a new Clean Air Plan
Cleaning up our air
Like many areas across the country, Greater Manchester has high levels of air pollution on some local roads.
Poor air quality affects everyone’s health. It’s linked to conditions like asthma, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and early deaths.
We’re working to make Greater Manchester a cleaner and healthier place to live in, work in and visit.
Through the transformational Bee Network we’re investing in zero-emission bus fleets and can run clean vehicles in areas with poor air quality.
Our investment-led Clean Air Plan will further tackle harmful nitrogen dioxide on local roads.
Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Plan proposals do NOT include a charging Clean Air Zone.
Evidence shows that our proposed investment-led approach will improve air quality faster than a charging Clean Air Zone – and without causing hardship to residents or businesses.
If government approves the investment-led Clean Air Plan, there would be no charge for any vehicles to drive anywhere in Greater Manchester.
Government will decide on the measures included in Greater Manchester’s new Clean Air Plan.
Your questions answered
It is for government to decide the measures that get the green light – Greater Manchester’s preferred investment-led, non-charging plan, or a charging Clean Air Zone.
Modelling shows that only the investment-led, non-charging plan would meet the government direction to meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide by 2026.
Government asked Greater Manchester to model a hypothetical charging Clean Air Zone in the centre of Manchester and Salford.
Modelling shows that this ‘benchmark’ charging Clean Air Zone would not meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in 2025 or 2026, failing to meet the government’s compliance date of 2026.
You might have seen signs for a Clean Air Zone on our roads which currently state that the plan is ‘under review’. That’s because the first Clean Air Plan included plans for a Greater Manchester-wide category C charging Clean Air Zone that did not go ahead.
Greater Manchester is also requesting government to consider agreeing that we can remove the signs installed for the formerly proposed Clean Air Zone. This is dependent on a government decision.
Under our investment led Clean Air Plan, only GM-licensed hackney carriages and private hire vehicles (PHVs) would be eligible for clean vehicle grants.
There is a limited government funding pot and our plans are to invest it where it will have the greatest impact on bringing nitrogen dioxide levels within legal limits.
Our modelling shows that targeted investment in zero-emission buses and taxis (hackneys and PHVs) is the most effective way to achieve compliance with legal limits for nitrogen dioxide under an investment-led, non-charging Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan.
Funding has already been available for HGVs but will now close to new HGV applicants. Existing applicants that have a funding award will have until 1 January 2025 to spend it.
Greater Manchester has a strong track record of working with partners to secure a sustainable transport system that also tackles the issue of poor air quality.
Over the past decade, around £200m a year has been invested to improve clean transport and encourage sustainable and active travel, Metrolink expansion and improvements, bus priority, smart ticketing and information systems, and park and ride sites.
Our work is continuing to clean up Greater Manchester’s air with the introduction of the Bee Network: a ‘London-style’, high volume, low fare, transport system, which is transforming the way people travel across the city region.
More people are getting on board the Bee Network and travelling sustainably thanks to lower fares, more joined-up services, state-of-the-art electric buses, and a growing active travel network, set to be the largest in the country.
Bringing buses back under local control through the Bee Network also allows Greater Manchester to run clean buses on routes where they are most needed to improve air quality.
The 64 electric buses we are seeking government funding for would be in addition to the 85 currently in operation. With 50 more due to come into service in March 2024, they would bring the fleet total to 199 next year. Under current plans, Greater Manchester would have 369 zero-emission buses operating in 2025 and 619 by the end of 2027, supporting the overall ambition for an entirely electric fleet by 2032.
The original Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan (GM CAP) has already started to clean up Greater Manchester’s air:
Clean Air Financial Support Scheme for HGVs (introduced November 2021): As of the end of November 2023, 205 HGVs have been upgraded.
Clean Bus Fund (introduced in December 2020): As of the end of November 2023, 69 buses have been replaced with compliant vehicles. 956 buses had been retrofitted with clean technology to meet Government Clean Air Zone standards. However, the government is currently conducting a national review of its bus retrofit programme after initial research revealed variable results in reducing emissions.
£3.5m taxi only electric charging vehicle fund: We’ve installed 30 rapid charging points dedicated for private hire and hackney vehicles to encourage the move to EV. A wider project will see 60 taxi charging points installed in total across Greater Manchester, with locations chosen following feedback from the trade.
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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