Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan to tackle nitrogen dioxide exceedances at the roadside

Why do we need a clean air plan?

Air pollution is linked to a wide range of serious illnesses and conditions. It contributes to the equivalent of 1,200 deaths a year in Greater Manchester.

Central government has instructed the 10 Greater Manchester authorities and many other local authorities across the UK to take action to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on local roads and meet legal concentration limits as soon as possible. In Greater Manchester, the 10 local authorities, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) are working together to develop a Clean Air Plan to tackle NO2.

A study carried out in October 2018 identified 152 stretches of road in Greater Manchester that will still be in breach of legal limits for NO2 in 2020 and beyond unless further action is taken. This includes several roads in Salford.

The Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan proposals

In developing the proposals, a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) was produced in March 2018 – this refined a shortlist of potential intervention options from an initial long list of wide ranging measures.

After further refinement and applying government selection criteria, an Outline Business Case (OBC) was developed and submitted to central government in March 2019. In order to tackle Greater Manchester’s NO2 exceedances and achieve compliance in the shortest possible time, the proposals included:

Introduction of a Clean Air Zone across the whole of Greater Manchester in two phases from 2021 and 2023. The most polluting vehicles would pay a daily penalty to enter and/or travel within the Clean Air Zone. This would include some buses, coaches, lorries, vans, taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses, motorhomes and motorised horseboxes. These ‘non compliant’ vehicles with a diesel Euro 5 or earlier engine, or a petrol Euro 3 or earlier engine are likely to be subject to the daily penalty.

The current proposed daily penalties and penalty charge notice (PCN) charges are as follows:

Vehicle type Proposed daily penalty for non-compliant vehicles driving into, out of, within or through Greater Manchester Proposed PCN charge (additional to the daily penalty)
Taxis/private hire vehicles £7.50 from 2021 £120
HGVs £100 from 2021 £120
Buses/coaches £100 from 2021 £120
LGVS - Vans, minibuses, motorhomes and motorised horseboxes £7.50 from 2023 £120
Cars, motorbikes and mopeds N/A N/A

A vehicle checker has been developed to show which vehicles would be likely to pay a daily penalty to enter or travel within the Clean Air Zone.

Exemptions and discounts are still being considered to limit the impact on specific groups or vehicle owners/drivers.

  • Alongside the Clean Air Zone, a multi-million pound funding package to support local businesses, including sole traders, to upgrade to cleaner vehicles:
    • Clean Freight Fund - £59 million funding ask from government to support the upgrade of HGVs, coaches, vans and minibuses (which aren’t used as a private hire vehicle) which are registered in Greater Manchester.
    • Clean Bus Fund - £29 million to support those operating registered bus services in Greater Manchester to upgrade their fleets.
    • Clean Taxi Fund - £28 million to support the upgrade of taxis and private hire vehicles which are licensed in Greater Manchester.
    • Greater Manchester Clean Air Loan Scheme - Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulated loans and at preferential rates for those who are taking advantage of the clean vehicle funds.
  • A £25 million funding ask to treble the number of electric vehicle public charging points across Greater Manchester.
  • Proposals to help people, businesses, and organisations including schools across Greater Manchester switch to greener transport.

You can find out more detail of the assessment process, the data and methodology used from the downloadable SOC and OBC documents below.

What happens next?

Between 13 May and 30 June 2019, people were asked to share their views on the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan outline proposals. All feedback is currently being reviewed and collated. It will help to shape the detailed Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan proposals.

Central government feedback on the OBC and a Ministerial direction were received in July 2019. This directed all 10 Greater Manchester councils to implement a Clean Air Zone in 2021, including vans from that date. The impact of this is currently being considered. 

Further options appraisal information (including transport and air quality modeling, as well as due regard to economic, financial and deliverability considerations) was also requested by central government. This has been submitted to them in the form of a series of technical notes.

Following clarification from central government on funding and other legal issues, a Full Business Case (FBC) will be developed for approval by the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities. This will be subject to government approval. It is anticipating that funding measures would be available from 2020, with the Clean Air Zone being introduced from 2021.

How can I comment or find out more?

A statutory consultation on the detailed proposals will take place (date to be confirmed) giving another opportunity for comments and suggestions. A number of local events will be held to discuss the proposals and input comments or ideas. Further details will be advertised on our events page or you can follow @SalfordBusiness.

Further information

You can read a summary overview of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan and next steps

More detailed information about the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan can be found from the Clean Air Greater Manchester website.


Resources including leaflets aimed at different stakeholder groups can be downloaded from the Clean Air Greater Manchester website.

Downloadable documents

Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan Outline Business Case (OBC)

Other OBC documents including appendices, technical appendices and technical notes can be downloaded from the Clean Air Greater Manchester website.

Strategic Outline Case (SOC) documents and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) reports

SOC documents and GMCA reports can also be downloaded from the Clean Air Greater Manchester website.

If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.

This page was last updated on 21 January 2020

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