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 Greater Manchester is road transport (vehicles with internal combustion engines).

Central government has instructed the ten 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 in "the shortest possible time". In Greater Manchester, the ten 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

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 professional experts, and assessing the performance of each option relative to each other were considered. GM has identified a preferred option based on delivering compliance in the "shortest possible time" and that improves air quality with the least detrimental impact on GM.

The proposals currently include the following measures:

  • Introduction of a ‘Category C’ charging Clean Air Zone. This would cover local roads across the whole of Greater Manchester from spring 2022 and operate 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. Failure to pay the daily charge would result in a penalty charge notice (PCN), in addition to the daily charge. The current proposed daily penalties and 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 £120
Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) £60 £120
Buses/coaches £60 £120
Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) such as vans and minibuses £10 from 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 is requesting a package of funding from Government totalling over £150m 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 and 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 Clean Bus Fund to provide financial support for the upgrade of non-compliant buses registered to run services across GM.
    • A Hardship Fund to support individuals, companies and organisations considered to be the most vulnerable to socio-economic impacts from the Clean Air Zone.
  • A vehicle finance offer to access affordable finance for eligible applicants who require assistance in funding the cost of upgrading to a compliant HGV, van, coach, minibus, GM-licensed hackney carriage or GM-licensed private hire vehicle.
  • A ‘Try before you buy’ hackney scheme to tackle the barriers to switching to electric vehicles.
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure for hackney carriages and private hire vehicles - GM is proposing a £6.5m network of 40 taxi-only rapid electric vehicle charging points tailored to locations to support zero emissions capable taxis to operate across GM.

How can I comment or find out more?

A consultation on the proposals runs from 8 October to 3 December 2020. We want to hear your views on key elements of the GM Clean Air Zone, including the proposed daily charges, discounts and exemptions, and the funding packages to support local businesses to upgrade to cleaner vehicles. You can have your say by going to to answer the questions in the online questionnaire. You can also respond to the consultation by telephone or post. For support to respond to the consultation or to request copies of the summary document and questionnaire, please email or telephone 0161 244 1100.

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

A record of the decision to proceed with the consultation 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.

As part of the vehicle standards, the new GM Minimum Licensing Standards propose that:

  • From 2025 – all new-to-license vehicles would need to be zero-emission-capable.
  • From 2028 – all vehicles would need to be zero-emission-capable, meaning an entirely zero-emission taxi/PHV fleet across GM by 2029.

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

What about COVID-19?

The Government has asked Greater Manchester to continue to progress the Clean Air Plan, and to undertake the consultation, based on proposals developed before the COVID-19 pandemic that showed compliance would be achieved by 2024. Greater Manchester is assessing the possible effects of COVID-19 on the Clean Air Plan and the consultation is asking questions about the impact of COVID-19 on impacted groups. This information will inform future decisions on each aspect of the final plan.

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 2 October 2020

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