Greater Manchester is expected to bring forward its proposals for addressing air pollution in the city region in the coming weeks, elected members heard yesterday (16 August).
At a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Planning, Housing & Environment Committee, officials were presented with an update on the Greater Manchester Clean Air plan, which is being overseen by Transport for Greater Manchester.
TfGM is leading the development of the plan on behalf of seven of the ten Greater Manchester authorities who were named within the government’s NO2 plan as being required to act to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions. A finalised Clean Air Plans is due to be presented before the end of the year.
Papers released ahead of yesterday’s meeting indicate that options under consideration for the city region include the potential for a charging Clean Air Zone.
But, any potential charges would be likely to apply to private-hire vehicles, buses and HGVs, with the Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, having previously ruled out a charge for private car drivers (see airqualitynews.com story).
Other measures included in a shortlist shown to members include the potential for a workplace parking levy to encourage commuters to use public transport, increased public transport capacity, retrofit of the existing public transport and local authority fleets and incentivising an increased uptake of electric vehicles in the region.
In the update to members yesterday, TfGM noted that initial data of NO2 exceedances across the local authority areas has been submitted to Defra, which will shortly report back with specific requirements for emissions reductions required across the region.
Once this ‘target determination’ has been completed – likely to be this month – the Greater Manchester air quality steering group, will assess which options are likely to bring about the required reduction in NO2 levels demanded by government.
The papers note: “As government has identified charge-based Clean Air Zones as the benchmark measure, the modelling process used to identify a preferred option to achieve compliance in the shortest possible time in GM is required to focus on this measure first. The Steering Group members will brief senior officers and elected members within their organisations on the options for achieving compliance.â€?
Officers will model which of these measures is likely to bring about compliance within the shortest possible time, before submitting a business case to government later this year. The proposals will be subject to the ‘relevant GM-level governance’, the papers indicate.
Members also heard that a programme of public awareness around air quality issues affecting the region is also under development.
This is expected commence during early autumn 2018 to ‘build greater public awareness and understanding of the GM air quality issue and associated impacts’.
Under the identity of ‘Clean Air Greater Manchester’, “this would build on past public engagement activity – e.g. Clean Air Day – and aim to educate key audiences about air pollution, the health impacts, and what they can do to make a difference,â€? members were told.
Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan update