Updated: Aug 17, 2021
Bury Council’s cabinet has approved Greater Manchester’s final Clean Air Plan to tackle the problem of air pollution on local roads, which they say contributes towards at least 1,200 deaths per year in the city-region.
All ten Greater Manchester (GM) councils considered the GM Clean Air Plan at meetings taking place throughout July, after the plan was endorsed by the ten GM local authority leaders at a GMCA meeting on 25 June.
The Clean Air Plan includes proposals for a GM-wide Clean Air Zone, which is anticipated to launch on 30 May 2022, alongside more than £120m government funding, which as well as supporting local businesses, will also be used to assist taxi and private hire drivers switch to more cleaner, compliant vehicles.
A total of £21.4m will be made available to the taxi industry to help build a greener fleet of vehicles licensed within the Greater Manchester area. Applications for funding support will open from the end of November this year.
The ten GM councils are under direction from government to introduce a category C charging Clean Air Zone – including commercial and passenger vehicles but not private cars – to secure compliance with NO2 legal limits on local roads in the shortest possible time, and by 2024 at the latest.
Following feedback from more than 4,000 people during an eight-week consultation on the proposals held last year, the Clean Air Plan has been updated to take into account the impact of COVID-19.
In light of that feedback the final plan gives small businesses, GM-licensed hackney cab and private hire vehicle (PHV) owners and LGV owners more time, money and options to upgrade.
This includes temporary exemptions for an additional year (until 31 May 2023) for all hackney cabs and PHVs licensed by a GM district. Vans, minibuses, GM-registered coaches and wheelchair-accessible taxis were already exempt from daily charges until 2023.
Increased funding support per vehicle is also available for GM-licensed hackney cabs and PHVs. GM hackney cabs can get up to £10k.
The funding will help eligible non-compliant vehicle owners to upgrade to cleaner non-compliant vehicles and not have to pay a daily charge, with the funding expected to be available from November.
Councillor Alan Quinn, cabinet member for the environment, climate change and operations, said: “We have already declared a climate emergency and set a target for Bury to be carbon neutral by 2038.
“Bury and the other nine councils in Greater Manchester are under direction from the Government to introduce a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ), in the shortest time possible, to ensure nitrogen dioxide (N02) emissions are within legal limits by 2024.
“Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to our health. While most motorways and trunk roads won’t be included in the CAZ, approving this plan is a major step towards cutting pollution levels.
“It’s absolutely crucial we act now to clean-up the air that we breath, to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities, now and for future generations."