The interim mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, has launched a public consultation to decide how to tackle air pollution from transport in order to meet legal air quality limits.
The eight-week consultation on the draft Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Plan is being carried out by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), which oversees transport and travel across the region.
Respondents have the opportunity to have their say on a range of measures, which focus on key priority areas in urban centres and near major roads which currently fail to meet UK Government and EU air quality objectives.
In September, the Government proposed a new framework of ‘clean air zones’ across the country following legal pressure after it was revealed that some urban areas were unlikely to meet legal air pollution limits before 2020.
TfGM’s consultation proposes to investigate the feasibility of introducing a clean air zone which will restrict the use of high-emission vehicles in some areas.
Other proposals in the strategy include:
- Developing large-scale urban distribution centres (UDCs) and smaller urban consolidation centres (UCCs). These would consolidate orders for one or a group of businesses located in the same area into one consignment for final delivery by low-emission vehicles
- Upgrading and renewing the bus fleet to take advantage of the latest diesel and hybrid engine technology, and trialling the latest ultra-low-emission buses
- Increasing the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points to encourage uptake of electric cars and vans and a review of the success of existing ‘pay as you go’ car clubs
- Improving and increasing the information and data on air pollution monitoring available to the public through the GreatAir Manchester website
- Continuing the development of cycling infrastructure across Greater Manchester
- Ongoing promotion of TfGM’s Travel Choices programme to increase use of public transport, cycling and walking.
Interim mayor, Tony Lloyd, said: “Air quality and carbon emissions are two of the key challenges facing Greater Manchester.
“A new report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health published last week said that outdoor air pollution is linked to the deaths of at least 40,000 people across the UK annually.
“This could mean that more than 2,000 people in Greater Manchester are dying prematurely each year from diseases and conditions affected by air pollution. We must take action to stop these deaths – doing nothing is not an option.”
“We want to hear the views of people and organisations across the city region to make sure we take the right decisions here that work for Greater Manchester and improve the lives of our communities.”
Low emission culture
Jon Lamonte, chief executive officer at TfGM, added: “We need to do more to reduce air pollution as a contributor to ill-health in Greater Manchester, to meet UK and EU air quality thresholds as soon as possible and, ultimately, to make low emission behaviours an important part of our culture and lifestyles.
“The need to achieve tough air quality improvement targets will require commitment from a range of organisations to ensure Greater Manchester’s continued development as one of the UK’s foremost city regions.”
The public consultation is open until Friday 29 April. To read the proposals and respond to the consultation, click here.