Councillors in Trafford have approved proposals to tackle air pollution in the borough and across Greater Manchester.
At a full Council meeting yesterday, they gave their backing to Greater Manchester’s final Clean Air Plan.
The plan aims to tackle the ongoing problem of air pollution on local roads, which contributes towards at least 1,200 deaths per year in the city-region.
All 10 Greater Manchester (GM) councils are considering the GM Clean Air Plan at meetings taking place throughout July, after the plan was endorsed by the 10 GM local authority leaders at a GMCA meeting on June 25.
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 to support local businesses upgrade to cleaner, compliant vehicles so they can travel in the Zone without incurring a daily charge.
Applications for funding support will open from November this year. This will be essential to support impacted vehicle owners to upgrade, while facing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cllr Andrew Western, Trafford’s Council Leader and Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead on Clean Air said:
“Air pollution is having a significant impact on the health of people in the borough and Greater Manchester and we need to take measures to tackle the issue.
Doing nothing is not an option for Trafford or Greater Manchester as this issue won’t go away and we need to take the appropriate action to protect people. We have listened to what residents and business owners have been telling us and the plan takes into account the impact of Covid, particularly on small businesses.
These measures we are proposing will clean up the air we breathe as quickly and effectively as possible, while also protecting people, businesses and the economy in Trafford and Greater Manchester.”
While the Covid-19 pandemic led to brief air quality improvements, modelling shows it is not expected to lead to long-term reductions in roadside pollution without implementing a Clean Air Zone.
The 10 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, particularly on small businesses.
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 HGVs, coaches, vans, and GM-licensed hackney cabs and PHVs. Vans can now access up to £4.5k towards the replacement of a vehicle – £1k more than initially proposed – and GM hackney cabs can get up to £10k. HGVs can now get up to £12k towards replacement, nearly three times more than was initially offered, and coaches are now eligible for £32k.
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. This includes:
- Clean Commercial Vehicle Fund: £87.9m for vans, HGVs, coaches and minibuses.
- Clean Taxi Fund: £21.4m for GM-licensed taxi and private hire vehicle owners, drivers and operators to switch to cleaner vehicles.
- Bus Retrofit Fund: £14.7 million to retrofit non-compliant buses running services in GM
- Bus Replacement Fund: £3.2 million to support replacement of non-compliant buses that can’t be retrofitted
Feedback from last year’s public consultation highlighted that motorhomes can be classified in more than one way by the DVLA. As a result, subject to all 10 local authorities approving the Clean Air Plan, a consultation will be held for six weeks from 1 September on the inclusion of motorhomes classified as MSP1 in the GM Clean Air Zone. At the same time, a consultation would also be held on a minor change to the boundary to include the A575 and A580 at Worsley, following consultation feedback.
More information is available at cleanairgm.com, where people can also sign up for updates.
*A Category C class Clean Air Zone includes non-compliant buses and coaches, Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs) or vans, minibuses, taxis and private hire vehicles.
Posted on Thursday 29th July 2021