Work is well under way to get ready for the Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone launching on 30 May 2022, with the first Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras now installed, and a Financial Support Scheme due to launch in November.
All ten Greater Manchester local authorities have approved the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan, which includes a government directed ‘Category C’ charging Clean Air Zone. GM has secured more than £120m government funding to help local businesses, people and organisations to upgrade to cleaner vehicles, so they can travel in a GM-wide Clean Air Zone without incurring a daily charge.
The Clean Air Zone is a key component of Greater Manchester’s green revolution, helping to tackle the problem of air pollution, which contributes towards at least 1,200 deaths per year in the city-region. The Zone is just one of several being introduced in the UK to tackle harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution on local roads, with Zones now live in Bath and Birmingham.
The first ANPR camera was installed on Vernon Street in Bolton in August, with around 850 more to follow to enforce any non-payment of daily charges. Clean Air Zone signage is also being introduced on the highways network across the city-region.
The GM Clean Air Plan accredited dealership scheme is now open for vehicle dealers to join, to help roll out around £120m funding support when clean vehicle funds open for applications from November this year.
The ten GM councils are under direction from government to introduce the category C Clean Air Zone to secure compliance with NO2 legal limits on local roads in the shortest possible time, and by 2024 at the latest. Affected vehicles include light goods vehicles and vans, heavy goods vehicles, buses, coaches, motorhomes, hackney cabs, private hire vehicles and minibuses, but not private cars.
Greater Manchester lead for Clean Air, Councillor Andrew Western, said: “It’s good to see a tremendous amount of progress being made to deliver the Clean Air Zone, which will include local roads in all ten Greater Manchester local authority areas.
“We’re working hard to ensure we support affected vehicle owners move to cleaner vehicles so they don’t have to pay a daily charge. While the Zone launches in May 2022, there will be local exemptions in place to give businesses and organisations more time to apply for funding.
“Our goal is to reduce harmful emissions. We want to help as many people and businesses as possible to be driving cleaner vehicles so we can all breathe cleaner air.
“Our clean vehicle funds service will launch in November and I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might be affected to get up to speed at cleanairgm.com, where they can sign up for regular updates.”
A public consultation on the GM Clean Air Plan proposals took place in 2020. This identified two issues that were raised in the feedback to the original consultation that now require a further consultation so that the ten GM local authorities can decide if they are to be included in the final plan. A six-week consultation will take place from 1 September 2021 to 13 October on two proposed inclusions to the Clean Air Zone:
- Including sections of the A575 and A580 at Worsley in the charging scheme.
- Including M1/ M1 SP vehicles with a body type of ‘motorcaravan’ within the charging scheme.
Feedback from the 2020 consultation identified that due to DVLA vehicle categories, some motorhomes would be charged to drive within the GM Clean Air Zone and some wouldn’t. The proposed inclusion of M1 / M1 Special Purpose with a body type of ‘motorcaravan’ within the charging scheme would ensure that all vehicles with a motorcaravan type body, which may look similar and have similar levels of emissions, will be treated equally.
The proposal to include the A575 and A580 at Worsley in the Clean Air Zone is a minor modification to the Zone. The roads were only previously excluded due to issues with signage in this area, which have now been resolved.
Councillor Western added: “We have taken into account all the feedback we received during the 2020 Clean Air Plan consultation, alongside further evidence and modelling on the impact of COVID-19 and updated the final approved plan to reflect this.
“This further consultation will help to get further views on two policy issues. Anyone can get involved but we are particularly interested to hear from people who live in or drive through the Worsley area, and leisure vehicle owners.
“The updated proposals aim to ensure that all motorhomes and campervans – that may look similar and have similar emissions – are treated equally, regardless of administrative vehicle categories. I look forward to hearing people’s views.”