Greater Manchester targets air quality improvements

New measures to improve air quality in Greater Manchester have been agreed with an updated Low-Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan approved by Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The documents, which were also ratified by members of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee last month, will be finalised and published later this year ahead of the air quality and emission reduction programmes being implemented.

The Air Quality Action Plan, feeding into the overall Low-Emission Strategy, includes a range of measures to improve air quality and reduce emissions across Greater Manchester, focusing on key priority areas in urban centres and near major roads which currently fail to meet UK Government and EU air quality objectives.

The measures include: upgrading and renewing the bus fleet including trials of ultra-low-emission buses; increasing the number of EV charging points to encourage uptake of electric cars and vans; and improving and increasing the information and data on air pollution monitoring available to the public through the GreatAir Manchester website.

The GMCA approval follows an eight-week public consultation on draft editions of the plans earlier this year. TfGM, which ran the consultation, received more than 180 responses, with around 75 per cent from members of the public and 25 per cent from public and private sector organisations including environmental protection bodies, industry, trade associations and transport operators.

Ninety-nine per cent of respondents agreed that air quality and carbon emissions are important areas of concern for Greater Manchester and 82 per cent agreed or partially agreed that the LES and AQAP set out the correct proposals and policies required to tackle the issues.

Interim mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, says: “Air quality and carbon emissions are two of the key challenges facing Greater Manchester.

“Air pollution and carbon emissions not only cause significant harm to the environment but can also cause respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It is imperative that we act now. Our new measures and policies will help to clean up our environment and improve life for people in Greater Manchester.”