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Greater Manchester sets out air quality and emissions plans

A suite of plans have been published outlining the actions Greater Manchester will take to improve air quality, tackle emissions and reduce the region’s carbon footprint.

A suite of plans have been published outlining the actions Greater Manchester will take to improve air quality, tackle emissions and reduce the region’s carbon footprint.

The Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy, Air Quality Action Plan and Climate Change and Low Emission Implementation Plan are all now available to view online.

Collectively, the plans set out the actions Greater Manchester needs to take to meet demanding environmental targets and ensure continued economic growth does not cause a rise in pollution.

The plans aim to help meet EU air quality limits and encourage “low emission behaviour” in all organisations across the region.

‘Significant progress’

The ultimate goal is to reduce the region’s collective carbon emissions by 48 per cent between 1990 and 2020.

Tony Lloyd, interim Greater Manchester mayor, commented: “Air quality and carbon emissions are two of the most important issues facing Greater Manchester as there is strong evidence to suggest that they pose a significant risk to the environment and to public health.

“We’ve already made significant progress in reducing regional nitrogen dioxide and carbon emission levels, but more action is needed along with a collective commitment from a wide range of organisations, both public and private, if we are to meet tough targets and limits in the future.”


To meet its emissions target, it is estimated that between £300-500 million of low carbon energy projects will need to be deployed in Greater Manchester by 2020. This includes technologies such as solar PV, heat networks, wind, smart heat, energy from waste, and low emission vehicles.

One of the key energy goals is to establish a municipal energy company, similar to those developed in Nottingham and Bristol, to increase local investment in green energy.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) also intends to lobby government for greater local determination of national funds for power and heat generation, innovation, energy storage, demand response and energy reduction schemes. 


On transport, Greater Manchester aims to have 40,000 ultra-low emission vehicles registered across the region by 2020 and will increase its electric vehicle charging infrastructure to help meet this goal.

Also included in the plans are measures build more cycling infrastructure and provide toolkits and guidance to reduce emissions from HGVs.

There is also a commitment to explore the feasibility of a Clean Air Zone, which could potentially restrict access for the most polluting vehicles. 


GMCA aims to work closer with commercial buildings to increase building retrofit by facilitating an education programme for building owners on the business case for improving energy and environmental performance.

Businesses will continue to be supported to become more resource efficient through the Business Growth Hub

‘Exciting times’

Paul Dennett, mayor of Salford and chair of Greater Manchester’s Low Carbon Hub, said the action plans were “integral to Greater Manchester’s success”.

“These are exciting times for Greater Manchester, with increasing opportunities to shape our local future through devolution, achieve our local targets and meet our global commitments”, he said.