Greater Manchester has launched a new air quality action plan, including an investigation into the feasibility of a ‘clean air zone’ that could restrict access for high emission vehicles.
The Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan has been updated following an eight-week public consultation into measures the city region could take to reduce air pollution.
The resulting action plan includes a range of measures to improve air quality and reduce emissions from transport, focusing on ‘key priority areas’ in urban centres and near major roads which currently fail to meet UK government and EU air quality objectives.
The measures include:
- Upgrading and renewing the bus fleet to take advantage of the latest diesel and hybrid engine technology and trial the latest ultra-low emission buses
- Increasing the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points to encourage uptake of electric cars and vans, and review the success of existing ‘pay as you go’ car clubs
- Working more closely with the freight logistics sector to explore opportunities to introduce more sustainable measures into their Greater Manchester operations
- Investigating the feasibility of introducing a Clean Air Zone (CAZ), targeting high emission vehicles
- Improving and increasing the information and data on air pollution monitoring available to the public
- Continuing the £40 million development of cycling infrastructure across the region
- Promoting Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)’s Travel Choices support programme for businesses, residents and jobseekers.
Clean Air Zones
Clean Air Zones are seen by government as a key measure to improve air quality in major urban areas.
In a CAZ, vehicles that do not meet specific minimum emissions standards are charged for or restricted from entering the area to reduce local air pollution and accelerate the move towards better performing fleets.
In Europe there are currently 200 such zones in operation or at an advanced planning stage.
Interim mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, said: “Air quality and carbon emissions are two of the key challenges facing Greater Manchester.
“Air pollution and carbon emissions not only cause significant harm to the environment but can also cause respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
“It is imperative that we act now. Our new measures and policies will help to clean up our environment and improve life for people in Greater Manchester.”