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 approximately 1,200 deaths a year in Greater Manchester (GM). The main source of air pollution in Salford and GM is road transport (vehicles with internal combustion engines).

A study carried out in October 2018 identified 152 stretches of road in Greater Manchester that would be in breach of legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in 2020 and beyond unless further action is taken. This included several roads in Salford.

Central government has instructed the ten GM authorities and many other local authorities across the UK to take action to reduce levels of NO2 on local roads and meet legal concentration limits in "the shortest possible time". In Greater Manchester, the ten local authorities, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have worked together to develop a joint Clean Air Plan.

The Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan proposals

The Clean Air Plan has been in development since 2018 when a Strategic Outline Case was submitted to government. It has been designed to meet Government’s 'primary and secondary success criteria'. GM identified several possible solutions that were assessed against these criteria. Modelling and analysis, engagement with stakeholders, and assessing the performance of each option relative to each other were considered. GM has developed a final plan based on delivering compliance in the 'shortest possible time' and that improves air quality with the least detrimental impact.

The proposed final Clean Air Plan includes the following measures:

  • Introduction of a ‘Category C’ charging Clean Air Zone. This would cover local roads across the whole of GM and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The anticipated implementation date is Monday 30 May 2022. The most polluting commercial vehicles would pay a daily charge (applicable from midnight to midnight) to travel on local roads in the zone. Failure to pay the daily charge would result in a penalty charge notice (PCN), in addition to the daily charge. The daily penalties and PCN charges will be:
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 (PHVs) £7.50 (from end of May 2022, temporary exemption for Greater Manchester-licensed vehicles until end of May 2023) £120
Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) £60 (from end of May 2022) £120
Buses £60 (from end of May 2022) £120
Coaches £60 (from end of May 2022) £120
Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) such as vans and minibuses £10 (from end of May 2023) £120
Cars, motorbikes and mopeds N/A N/A

Non-compliant vehicles are Euro 5 or earlier diesel engine, Euro 3 or earlier petrol engine

The zone would be enforced by a network of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

Some permanent and temporary discounts and exemptions are proposed. A vehicle checker has also been developed to give a guide as to which vehicles would be likely to pay a daily penalty to enter or travel within the Clean Air Zone.

  • Alongside the Clean Air Zone, GM has secured a package of funding from Government totalling over £120m to mitigate negative social and economic effects on businesses and individuals most affected by the proposals, to support them upgrading to compliant vehicles:
    • A Clean Commercial Fund to provide financial support for the upgrade of non-compliant vans, HGVs, minibuses (which aren’t used as a private hire vehicle) and coaches.
    • A Clean Taxi Fund to provide financial support for the upgrade of non-compliant GM-licensed hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.
    • A Bus Retrofit Fund to retrofit non-compliant buses running services in GM.
    • A Bus Replacement Fund to support replacement of non-compliant buses that can’t be retrofitted.
    • Funding for over 30 taxi-only electric vehicle charging points at strategic sites across the city-region.

Financial Support Scheme applications will open on 30 November for GM-registered HGVs, to give them the maximum amount of time to apply, since they are included in the zone from its launch.

The first round of funding will aim to support GM’s smaller businesses, sole traders and the voluntary sector and clean up the oldest, dirtiest vehicles.

Funding for GM-licensed PHV and hackney carriages, coaches, minibuses and LGVs will launch at the end of January 2022, ahead of their inclusion in the zone from 1 June 2023.

How can I find out more?

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

cabinet report approving the proposed final GM Clean Air Plan in Salford is online.

Greater Manchester taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) common minimum standards

The ten local authorities in Greater Manchester have developed a proposed set of common minimum standards for taxis and PHV drivers, operators and licensing authorities.

A public consultation on the minimum standards took place alongside a statutory public consultation on the detailed Clean Air Plan proposals. You can read more about the proposed minimum licensing standards. 

What about COVID-19?

Analysis of Greater Manchester’s air quality has shown that short term improvements in air quality during the pandemic will not be enough to meet legal limits for harmful NO2 emissions in the longer term without a Clean Air Zone.

The final plan takes into account the impact of the pandemic on GM businesses who need support to upgrade their vehicles. This has resulted in the following changes to the plan following a public consultation:

  • Proposed increases in funding per vehicle for PHVs, coaches, HGVs and vans. Funding for other vehicle types has remained the same.
  • More options for replacement and retrofit for hackney carriages, PHVs, minibuses and vans.
  • More time to comply for GM licensed taxis/ PHVs, minibuses, vans and coaches.

Downloadable documents

Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan Outline Business Case (OBC)

Other Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan related 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 25 October 2021

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