Developing the Clean Air Plan measures

Greater Manchester has considered a wide range of measures that could help reduce roadside NO2 levels.

We started off with a longlist of 96 different options and used government guidelines to shortlist the most effective measures. These measures were wide-ranging and included, for example:

  • Retrofitting and upgrading the public transport fleet so it’s less polluting.
  • Using cleaner alternative fuels.
  • Expanding the electric vehicle charging network.
  • Changing traffic signal timing to optimise flows, reducing congestion.
  • Review existing junction improvement plans.
  • Different types of Clean Air Zones.
  • Expanding and improving cycling and walking infrastructure.

From the shortlisted measures a number of options were developed. We assessed these options using the Government’s ‘primary and secondary success criteria’.

The Government’s primary success criteria are:

  • Reduction of NO2 concentrations in the “shortest possible time”.
  • That the measures can be implemented in the shortest possible time to achieve compliance.

Three options were identified which would deliver compliance by 2024 in line with these criteria:

1. A Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone to include non-compliant cars within the inner ring road, and wide-ranging support measures

  • A Clean Air Zone within the inner ring road for the most polluting vehicles, including cars, from 2021.
  • A Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone for buses, taxis, private hire vehicles and HGVs and coaches across Greater Manchester from 2021, with vans, minibuses, motorhomes and motorised horseboxes included from 2023.
  • Alongside the Clean Air Zones, this option included measures to communicate the importance of air quality across Greater Manchester, promote cleaner vehicles and help residents, businesses and bus operators to upgrade.

2. A Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone with an Ultra-Low Emission Zone within the inner ring road, and wide-ranging support measures

  • A Clean Air Zone within the inner ring road for the most polluting vehicles, including all diesel cars and private hire vehicles and older petrol cars and private hire vehicles, from 2021.
  • A Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone for buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and HGVs from 2021, with vans, minibuses, motorhomes and motorised horseboxes included from 2023.
  • As well as this the proposals include measures look to communicate the importance of air quality across Greater Manchester, promote cleaner vehicles and help residents, businesses and bus operators to upgrade.

3. A Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone and wide-ranging support measures

  • A Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone for buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and HGVs implemented in 2021, extending to vans, minibuses, motorhomes and motorised horseboxes in 2023.
  • As well as this the proposals include measures look to communicate the importance of air quality across Greater Manchester, promote cleaner vehicles and help residents, businesses and bus operators to upgrade.

The preferred option

Having identified these three options, the Government’s secondary success criteria were applied to arrive at a preferred option. These include consideration of the wider impacts of the proposals and the cost to implement them.

This process led to the current Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan proposals being identified as the best way forward for tackling Greater Manchester’s NO2 issue. Modelling shows that they would achieve the required reduction in NO2 levels in the shortest possible time and in the most cost effective way, while minimising the wider impacts on Greater Manchester’s people and economy.

Once the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan is in place, it is estimated that every site within Greater Manchester will have NO2 within the legal limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) by 2024. If no action was taken the estimated date of legal compliance is 2027.

You can find out more detail of the assessment process, the data and methodology in the Options Appraisal Report which can be found with the other GM Clean Air Plan Outline Business Case documents.

Further work

More work is being undertaken to understand the impacts of the proposals at this stage. The Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan Outline Business Case includes an Equality Impact Assessment.

The ‘Clean Air conversation’ will help us to identify any additional issues and further develop the Equality Impact Assessments for the detailed proposals. These will be set out in the subsequent statutory public consultation.