What we're doing

We're working hard to clean up the air we all breathe.

In Greater Manchester, the greatest health threat from air pollution is posed by road transport emissions.

The main problems are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (usually tiny particles caused by traffic). These are linked to a wide range of illnesses and early deaths.

An Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) was declared in 2016, as national objectives for NO2 have not been achieved, and subsequently an action plan introduced later in 2016.

The 2016 Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan concentrate on ways to tackle road transport emissions and also reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Government has also asked us to develop a new Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan. This plan will need to include measures to bring roadside NO2 levels within legal limits.

Making a difference

We’re already making a difference to local air quality through our current plans and activity.

  • New Metrolink tram lines and services are allowing 44 million passenger journeys a year on our trams. 27 new trams are arriving from 2020 and work is also well under way on a new tram line to the intu Trafford Centre.
  • A multi-million pound investment in cycling infrastructure, training and education over the last decade is set to be boosted by a new £500m plan to deliver an ambitious cycling and walking network covering 1,000 miles.
  • The Greater Manchester Electric Vehicle scheme already offers more than 300 public charging points and is set to be expanded soon, with plans to treble the number of charging points.
  • The £122 million Bus Priority Package has improved travel for bus passengers, pedestrians and cyclists, including the hugely successful guided busway.
  • TfGM’s 24-hour control centre, which is in constant contact with partners such as Highways England and can update roadside information screens so drivers can make informed choices about alternative routes.
  • Work with businesses to provide initiatives, incentives and practical support to encourage sustainable commuting and business travel.
  • Work with freight operators to help them reduce their environmental impact.
  • Working with local schools, businesses, local authorities and the NHS to raise awareness and offer practical advice and help on how to take action.

And more improvements are on the way for all road users.

Greater Manchester’s Congestion Deal will deliver a whole range of measures to encourage more public transport use. In particular, measures to reduce car use for short journeys will take more cars off the road more often.

As part of the Congestion Deal a £400m investment is planned to upgrade junctions, tackle bottlenecks, provide new roads and deliver new smart traffic signals. This will improve traffic flow helping reduce air pollution hotspots.

Find out more about future measures being considered for the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan.


Every year Greater Manchester publishes an Annual Air Quality Status Report, which:

  • Outlines the strategies to improve local air quality and any progress made.
  • Gives a summary of local monitoring/modelling air quality data.
  • Reports on significant new developments that might affect local air quality.

You can find the reports here.

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