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.

Next steps

In February 2022 government agreed to lift the legal direction that GM should achieve compliance with legal NO₂ limits by 2024. 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 has now published a case for a new Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan, which was submitted to government on 1 July 2022. It sets out evidence supporting an investment-led approach, with no charging Clean Air Zone, to address the city-region’s NO₂ air pollution problem.

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.

£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 1 July 2022 Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan update report to the Greater Manchester Air Quality Administration Committee includes 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 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 have made plans to upgrade their vehicle and placed orders in preparation for these funds opening. Vehicle owners who have 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.

The distribution of the remaining funds will be reviewed and aligned to the new Clean Air Plan, as agreed with government. 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