Clean air plans

The background

Air pollution is linked to a range of very serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and asthma. It contributes to around 1,200 early deaths in Greater Manchester every year, harming our health and our economy.

Government has directed Greater Manchester and many other areas to bring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels on local roads within legal limits as soon as possible. The fastest way to do this is a Clean Air Zone.

The 10 Greater Manchester local authorities have worked together to consider a wide range of measures to tackle air pollution, alongside a Clean Air Zone. Together, these form the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan.

The proposed Clean Air Zone

Government has directed Greater Manchester to introduce a ‘category C’ charging Clean Air Zone. This would cover local roads across the whole of Greater Manchester from spring 2022, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The most polluting commercial vehicles would pay a daily charge to travel on local roads in the Zone. Private cars, motorbikes and mopeds would not be charged. The Zone would be enforced by a network of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

The costs of introducing a Clean Air Zone are covered by government. We’re not aiming to make money from the Zone – any income would cover its running costs and any leftover money would be spent on improving local transport.

The proposed Clean Air Zone aims to:

  • Bring NO2 emissions within legal limits as soon as possible and by 2024 at the latest.
  • Discourage polluting commercial vehicles from travelling on local roads in Greater Manchester.
  • Encourage businesses to switch to cleaner, low- or zero-emission vehicles.

The proposed Zone would cover all local roads across Greater Manchester. It would not include motorways and some main trunk roads managed by Highways England. The exact boundary is being developed by looking in detail at the local road network and using public feedback.

See the Greater Manchester boundary, and the stretches of roads which have been identified as breaching legal NO2 limits without action, on our MappingGM page.

The following are proposed daily charges for the non-compliant commercial vehicles:

  • Buses, coaches and Heavy Good Vehicles (HGV) – £60 (from spring 2022)
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles – £7.50 (from spring 2022)
  • Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) such as vans and minibuses – £10 (temporary exemption until 2023)

If the daily charge for a non-compliant vehicle isn’t paid, a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £120 would be issued, in addition to the unpaid daily charge.

Some vehicles will be exempt from the daily charge. The Government’s Clean Air Zone Framework sets out the following permanent exemptions:

  • Historic vehicles (Vehicles with a ‘historic’ vehicle tax class – built or first registered more than 40 years ago).
  • Military vehicles (Vehicles in use by UK Armed Forces).
  • Disabled Passenger Vehicles (Vehicles within the DVLA Disabled Passenger Vehicle tax class, used by organisations providing transport for disabled people).
  • Specialist Emergency Service Vehicles (Specialist vehicles in use by emergency services, such as aerial ladders and major incident command vehicles).

In addition to these national exemptions, Greater Manchester is proposing some local exemptions and discounts for the GM-wide Clean Air Zone.

Proposed permanent exemptions

The following permanent exemptions are proposed:

  • Specialist Heavy Goods Vehicles (Certain types of heavily specialised HGVs, such as certain vehicles used in construction or vehicle recovery).
  • Non-road-going vehicles (Certain types of non-road going vehicles which are allowed to drive on the highway such as agricultural machines; digging machines; and mobile cranes).
  • Vehicles used by emergency services (Certain types of vehicles used by emergency services front line emergency and certain non-emergency vehicles).
  • Community Minibuses (Those operating under a permit under section 19 or section 22 of the Transport Act (1985), issued by a body designated by the Secretary of State).
  • Showmen’s Guild vehicles (Fairground/funfair vehicles which are registered with the Showmen’s Guild).
  • Driving within the zone because of a road diversion (Vehicles driving within the zone because of a road diversion who would otherwise not have entered the Clean Air Zone. This applies only while the diversion is active and subject to non-compliant vehicles being on the designated diversion route).
  • Disabled Tax Class vehicles (Vehicles used by, or for the purposes of a disabled person which are exempt from vehicle tax).

Temporary local exemptions

The following temporary local exemptions are proposed:

Outstanding finance or lease on non-compliant vehicles - Non-compliant vehicles subject to finance or lease agreements entered into before the close of the October Clean Air Plan consultation, which remain outstanding at the time at which the GM CAZ becomes operational, will be eligible for a temporary exemption until the agreement ends or until 31st December 2022, whichever is sooner. After 31st December 2022, non-compliant vehicles will be charged.

Limited supply (awaiting delivery of a compliant vehicle) - Owners or registered keepers of non-compliant vehicles that can demonstrate they have placed an order for a compliant replacement vehicle or retrofit solution, will be eligible for a temporary exemption until such a time as they are in receipt of the compliant replacement vehicle or retrofit solution, or for 12 weeks, whichever is sooner.

For more details of temporary local exemptions and discounts for specific vehicle types please refer to the pages for:

All proposed local exemptions and discounts will be subject to the eight-week consultation proposed from October 2020.

Clean vehicle funding

We’ve also asked government for funding to support people and businesses affected by the proposals. This would help those people whose livelihoods depend on a van, taxi or private hire vehicle.

Financial support would be available to help them upgrade to a compliant vehicle which would not be subject to the daily charge. It would also help support the shift to cleaner lorries and bus fleets in Greater Manchester.

Government has already awarded us £41m initial funding and we are seeking more than £100m further funding, alongside a £10m ‘Hardship fund’ to support those most impacted by the Clean Air Zone.

Potential affected vehicles

The following vehicles could be liable to pay a daily charge to drive in the Clean Air Zone if they have high polluting engines. They are all commercial or passenger vehicles that use our local roads more than private cars.

Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) and minibus

This includes vans, minibuses and motorised horseboxes (3.5t and under).

Find out more

Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV)

This includes lorries with two axles, rigid/articulated lorries with more than two axles and motorised horseboxes (over 3.5t).

Find out more

Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle (PHV)

This includes London-style ‘black cabs’ and other vehicles licensed as hackney carriages or private hire vehicles.

Find out more

Bus and coach

These are vehicles designed to carry passengers, with more than 16 passenger seats.

Find out more

Check your vehicle

See if your vehicle could be liable for a daily charge to travel in the proposed Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone.*

Has your vehicle been retrofitted to meet the Euro retro 6 standard?

*The Clean Air Plan proposals are still being developed, so the results of this vehicle checker are only a guide. In the meantime, please contact us at info@cleanairgm.com if your vehicle type isn’t listed. And sign up at the bottom of the page for the latest news and updates on our proposals.

Your answer...

Fill in the questions to see what class of vehicle you own and whether you’re liable for a daily charge

*The Clean Air Plan proposals are still being developed, so the results of this vehicle checker are only a guide. In the meantime, please contact us at info@cleanairgm.com if your vehicle type isn’t listed. And sign up at the bottom of the page for the latest news and updates on our proposals.

Other measures to clean up our air

We’ve developed a range of supporting measures to help Greater Manchester’s people and businesses do their bit to clean up our air.

Electric vehicles

We’re already increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points in Greater Manchester.

The existing Greater Manchester Electric Vehicle Network is changing to a new operator, with new rapid chargers being installed and upgrades for all existing chargers.

We will also be working with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to secure funding to install around 300 further charging points. Some of these would be for electric taxis and private hire vehicles only.

We’ll also continue to hold events to give people and businesses the information and support they need to upgrade to an electric vehicle.

Parking

A review of council parking policies has been undertaken and this will help shape future parking policy across Greater Manchester.

Greener transport

We’ll continue to give Greater Manchester’s businesses and communities the information and support they need to help them make the switch to cleaner, greener, sustainable travel.

Cycling and walking

Greater Manchester is building the Bee Network to link up communities and make it easier for people to travel on foot or by bike, without using a car.

Bus travel

Working with bus operators to support increased local bus travel.

Where we’re up to

The Clean Air Plan process has a number of legal and statutory stages. Scroll to find out more.

What can you do?

Find out more

Our Network

‘Our Network’ sets out everything Greater Manchester wants to achieve over the next 10 years to improve our public transport and walking and cycling networks.

Find out more

Air Quality Management Area

Greater Manchester is already taking action to reduce air pollution in areas that are likely to exceed the national air quality objective.

Find out more

Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy

Looking at ways to tackle road transport emissions and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Find out more

Air Quality Action Plan

Greater Manchester’s existing plan looking at ways to tackle road transport emissions.

Find out more