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 creates a health burden effect equivalent to 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) beyond 2020 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 as soon as possible. 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 original Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan was developed in accordance with government guidance and to meet the requirements of a ministerial legal direction issued before the pandemic. The plan included implementing a charging Clean Air Zone from May 2022 to deliver compliance with NO2 legal concentration limits by 2024. Since then, there have been significant changes in the market for vehicles compliant with Clean Air Zone standards and in economic circumstances. This means that the original plan would no longer be deliverable, would not meet legal obligations to reduce NO2 and would have caused significant financial hardship.  

The GM local authorities have agreed with central government to review the GM Clean Air Plan to achieve compliance with legal air quality limits for NO2 as soon as possible and by no later than 2026. Current proposals include:

  • an investment-led approach that could see financial support targeted towards upgrading vehicles which frequently travel through locations where modelling shows breaches of legal NO₂ limits might otherwise continue.
  • A commitment to review local policy changes, such as goods vehicle access controls, alongside regulatory measures such as hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licensing standards to accelerate fleet upgrades.
  • A proposal to work with government to agree the targeted use of Clean Air Plan automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to support identification of vehicles that could be upgraded, and for potential police use to detect crime.

GM has secured a package of funding totalling over £120m to help eligible owners of vehicles which would be non-compliant in a Clean Air Zone upgrade to compliant vehicles. Funding for cleaner buses and HGVs remains open to support people to upgrade and help deliver improved air quality.

The Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone will not go live as originally planned.

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. This includes a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.

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 original detailed Clean Air Plan proposals. You can read more about the proposed minimum licensing standards.

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 September 2022

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