An action plan and low emission strategy with measures aimed at tackling air pollution and CO2 in Greater Manchester has been launched for public consultation today (March 4), by the city’s interim Mayor Tony Lloyd.
The draft plan includes a range of measures, focusing on ‘key priority areas’ in urban centres and near major roads which currently fail to meet UK and EU legal air quality objectives.
According to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the pollutants causing “most concern” are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter – overwhelmingly caused by road transport – with the city not expected to meet EU limits until 2020 under current plans.
Proposed measures include increasing numbers of low emission buses and uptake of electric vehicles, developing freight consolidation centres, investigating feasibility of introducing a Clean Air Zone to target higher-polluting vehicles and improving cycling infrastructure in the city.
Greater Manchester already has an existing action plan to improve nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels and carbon emissions, but the city’s authority said that without additional action it would not meet EU legal limits in the near future “and will continue to pose serious health, environmental and economic challenges”.
“Air quality and carbon emissions are two of the key challenges facing Greater Manchester… We must take action to stop these deaths – doing nothing is not an option” – Tony Lloyd, Interim Mayor of Manchester
Defra announced in December that five English cities would receive funding to introduce Clean Air Zones – areas in which higher polluting cars are charged to enter – by 2020, but despite air pollution being described today as a “key challenge” and “serious issue” in the city, Manchester was not one of these cities.
TfGM has nevertheless received government funding to carry out a Clean Air Zone feasibility study, plans for which are included in today’s draft ‘Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan’.
Proposed air quality measures:
- Upgrading and renewing the bus fleet “to take advantage of the latest diesel and hybrid engine technology, and trialling the latest ultra-low-emission buses”.
- Increasing the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points to encourage uptake of electric cars and vans and a review of the success of existing ‘pay as you go’ car clubs.
- Developing large-scale urban distribution centres (UDCs) and smaller urban consolidation centres (UCCs). These would consolidate orders for one or a group of businesses located in the same area into one consignment for final delivery by low-emission vehicles.
- Investigating the feasibility of introducing a Clean Air Zone (CAZ), targeting high-emission vehicles.
- Improving and increasing the information and data on air pollution monitoring available to the public through the GreatAir Manchester website.
- Continuing the £40m+ development of cycling infrastructure across Greater Manchester.
- Ongoing promotion of TfGM’s ‘Travel Choices’ programme to increase use of public transport, cycling and walking.
The eight-week consultation is being carried out by TfGM on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and closes on Friday April 2019 2016.
Interim Mayor of Manchester Tony Lloyd said that the recent joint report by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health estimating 40,000 annual UK deaths form air pollution could mean that 2,000 of these deaths are in Manchester.
“We need to do more to reduce air pollution as a contributor to ill-health in Greater Manchester, to meet UK and EU air quality thresholds as soon as possible and, ultimately, to make low-emission behaviours an important part of our culture and lifestyles” – Dr Jon Lamonte, TfGM
“Air quality and carbon emissions are two of the key challenges facing Greater Manchester,” he said. “We must take action to stop these deaths – doing nothing is not an option.”
There is increased demand for private transport and movement of goods as Manchester’s economy and population grow, so the need to achieve tough targets for air quality improvement and carbon reduction will require “strong commitment from a wide range of organisations and potentially radical solutions”, according to TfGM.
Dr Jon Lamonte, chief executive of TfGM, said: “Greater Manchester has already made some headway in improving air quality and reducing emissions.
“But we need to do more to reduce air pollution as a contributor to ill-health in Greater Manchester, to meet UK and EU air quality thresholds as soon as possible and, ultimately, to make low-emission behaviours an important part of our culture and lifestyles.
“The need to achieve tough air quality improvement targets will require commitment from a range of organisations to ensure Greater Manchester’s continued development as one of the UK’s foremost city regions.”