Greater Manchester’s Unique Clean Air Zone

Manchester Clean Air Zone

The Greater Manchester unique Clean Air Zone (CAZ) has recently been proposed in order to bring air pollution in-line with national targets by the 2026 deadline. The Greater Manchester unique Clean Air Zone, if approved, would be investment-led; in contrast to the charging-based system adopted by other cities throughout the UK.

What is a Clean Air Zone?

A CAZ is an area, typically within a city or urban area, where measures are implemented to reduce air pollution and improve air quality.

There are currently six cities across the UK, excluding London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), with operating CAZs. All of these work under a charging-based system. Namely, vehicles entering the zone which do not meet specific requirements must pay a fee.In contrast to this trend, Greater Manchester, spearheaded by the regional mayor Andy Burnham, have proposed a radically different type of CAZ.

What makes Greater Manchester’s Unique Clean Air Zone Different?

In December 2023 Greater Manchester unveiled the unique investment-led CAZ – or, Clean Air Plan. In this proposal, there would be no charge for any vehicle to drive anywhere in Greater Manchester. Instead, using funded already awarded to Greater Manchester by the government, £87m will be invested in buses, taxis and measures to manage traffic flows within Manchester and Salford. This is split up as follows:

  • £51.2m investment in 64 zero-emission electric buses and EV charging infrastructure at bus depots;
  • £30.5m Clean Taxi Fund: provide financial support to help eligible hackney carriage and private hire vehicles licenced with Greater Manchester to upgrade to a cleaner vehicle, with some funding for Zero Emission vehicles; and,
  • £5m investment in local traffic measures: help manage traffic flows on roads in Manchester and Salford

Greater Manchester is confident that this approach will meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide by 2025, in addition to being more affordable than introducing a charging CAZ. Conversely, modelling undertaken by Greater Manchester has shown that a traditional charging CAZ would not meet legal limits by 2026, the deadline set by the Government.

In a period where important policies to help tackle environmental issues such as air quality have become contested political battlegrounds – for example, the recent ULEZ expansion in London – this approach has the potential to make real progress without directly impinging on the freedom and pocket of Greater Manchester’s citizens.

How can Redmore Environmental Help You? 

Redmore Environmental has extensive experience in undertaking Dispersion Modelling of vehicle exhaust emissions. These projects have been undertaken in support of Local Authority initiatives and planning applications throughout the UK. We are able to utilise a number of modelling techniques and software packages to quantify pollutant concentrations as a result of releases from road vehicles and have undertaken numerous assessments in and around the Greater Manchester area.

If you are concerned about air quality in Greater Manchester or require an Air Quality Assessment to support a planning application for your development, then please get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

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