Greater Manchester to submit clean air proposal in 2019

Greater Manchester councils will present a business case to government on plans to address air pollution in the region in early 2019.

Proposals are currently being drawn up to combat exceedances of the legal NO2 level across Greater Manchester on behalf of seven of the region’s ten authorities, obligated through the government’s NO2 plan.

Plans are being drawn up to address NO2 air pollution across the Greater Manchester region

An outline business case, summarising the proposals for the region had been due to be presented to the government by the end of 2018 – however the Greater Manchester authorities have agreed with ministers to present their proposals by 31 January 2019.

A final draft of the business case, which will outline the preferred option for addressing air pollution, will be presented to elected members on 11 January. Greater Manchester residents will be consulted on the proposals in early 2019.

Greater Manchester is one of a handful of areas to miss the government’s end of 2018 deadline for the submission of its proposals, with complexities in the assessment and modelling of the region’s air quality thought to be among the reasons for the delay.

Assessment

Last month, the Greater Manchester Authority revealed that future levels of air pollution in the region are likely to be worse than initially forecast, due in part to vehicles on the region’s roads being typically older than the national average (see airqualitynews.com story).

All ten Greater Manchester councils are working on the Clean Air Plan

Southampton council has also pushed back the submission of its business case on proposals to meet NO2 limits through the potential establishment of a ‘Class B’ charging Clean Air Zone to January 2019, the authority revealed last week (see airqualitynews.com story).

The south coast council attributed the delay to a high volume of feedback received in its consultation on the proposals.

Yesterday the government approved the first Air Quality Plan for a UK city to have been legally directed to bring NO2 levels in line with legal limits, rubber stamping Nottingham’s proposals to address emissions from the city’s bus and taxi fleets (see airqualitynews.com story).

The city has opted not to implement a Clean Air Zone, as this will not speed up compliance with the air quality limits, the council has concluded.

Options

In Greater Manchester a series of options have been identified that are being considered against the government’s benchmark measure of the introduction of a charging Clean Air Zone.

These include a workplace parking levy to encourage commuters to use public transport, increased public transport capacity and retrofit of the existing public transport and local authority fleets.

Politically there is reluctance to introduce a charging regime in the region – particularly after people in the city voted to reject the introduction of a congestion charge at a referendum in 2008.

However, a charging CAZ remains a possibility for the Authority if it cannot identify measures that will improve air quality within the same timeframe.