Clean air plans

Cleaning up our air

Air pollution is linked to a range of very serious health conditions and contributes to early deaths. Greater Manchester is taking action to improve air quality on local roads – now and for future generations.

All ten Greater Manchester local authority areas have worked together to develop a joint Clean Air Plan. This will bring NO2 levels on local roads within legal limits as soon as possible. The plan includes a Clean Air Zone, and more than £120m clean vehicle funding from government to help local businesses prepare.

A public consultation on these proposals took place between 8 October and 3 December 2020. The feedback received during the consultation has been assessed, alongside further data, evidence and modelling. This has been used to produce the final Clean Air Plan for consideration and approval by the ten Greater Manchester local authorities.

Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone

Government has directed Greater Manchester to introduce a Category C Clean Air Zone. The Zone is anticipated to be introduced on Monday 30 May 2022.

Vans, buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses and heavy goods vehicles that do not meet emission standards would pay a daily charge to travel in the Zone. Private cars, motorbikes and mopeds are not included.

The Clean Air Zone is designed to improve air quality by encouraging upgrades to cleaner vehicles. It is not the same as a Congestion Charge Zone, where all or most vehicles are charged to drive.

All roads within Greater Manchester – apart from roads managed by Highways England such as motorways and trunk roads – will be included in the Clean Air Zone, with a few exceptions. You can see this in detail by viewing the Clean Air Zone map

The Zone would run seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It would be enforced by a network of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. Those vehicles liable to pay the charge would pay using the government’s online portal. Discounts and exemptions will be available for some vehicle types. Some exemptions are temporary, some are permanent, and some are for hackney carriages and private hire vehicles licensed with the Greater Manchester local authorities only.

The following daily charges are proposed for non-compliant commercial vehicles:

  • Buses and heavy goods vehicles (HGV) – £60 (from 30 May 2022)
  • Coaches – £60 (temporary exemption until 32 May 2023)
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles – £7.50 (from 30 May 2022, temporary exemption for Greater Manchester-licensed vehicles until 31 May 2023)
  • Light goods vehicles (LGV) such as vans and minibuses – £10 (temporary exemption until 31 May 2023)

If the daily charge for a non-compliant vehicle isn’t paid, there will be a liability to pay a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £120 in addition to the unpaid daily charge. This would be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

Some vehicles would be exempt from the daily charge. The government’s Clean Air Zone Framework sets permanent exemptions for historic vehicles, military vehicles, disabled passenger vehicles, and specialist emergency service vehicles.

In addition to these national exemptions, there will be some local temporary and permanent exemptions and permanent discounts for the Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone. These will require an application by the owner/registered keeper of the non-compliant vehicle. You cannot apply for an exemption or discount at the moment. To keep up to date on when you can apply, check back here and sign up to the newsletter on this website.

Clean vehicle funding

Greater Manchester has secured more than £120m government funding to help people, businesses and organisations prepare for the Clean Air Zone:

  • Clean Commercial Vehicle Fund: £87.9m for vans, heavy goods vehicles, coaches and minibuses.
  • Clean Taxi Fund: £21.4m for GM-licensed taxi and private hire 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.

Support to upgrade non-compliant vehicles

Eligible van, heavy goods vehicle, bus, coach, taxi, private hire vehicle or minibus owners in Greater Manchester would be able to apply for financial support. This would be as a lump sum grant, contribution towards vehicle financing or a combination. Owners or registered keepers of non-compliant vehicles in Greater Manchester can use this funding to move to cleaner, compliant vehicles and not have to pay a daily charge.

More detailed information about support for vehicle owners is available on the pages below.

How do the proposals affect my vehicle?

The following vehicles are included in the Category C Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone. They are all commercial or passenger vehicles that use our local roads more than private cars.

Light goods vehicle (LGV) and minibus

This includes vans, minibuses and motorised horseboxes (3.5t and under).

Find out more

Heavy goods vehicle (HGV)

This includes lorries with two axles, rigid/articulated lorries with more than two axles and motorised horseboxes (over 3.5t).

Find out more

Taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV)

This includes London-style ‘black cabs’ and other vehicles licensed as hackney carriages or private hire vehicles.

Find out more

Bus and coach

These are vehicles designed to carry passengers, with more than 16 passenger seats.

Find out more

Check your vehicle

The category C Clean Air Zone vehicle categories and minimum emission standards are set out in Appendix A of the GM Clean Air Plan Policy. This can be found at cleanairgm.com/technical-documents*

Has your vehicle been retrofitted to meet the Euro retro 6 standard?

* The Clean Air Plan has not yet been finalised, so the results of this vehicle checker are only a guide. The Clean Air Zone is anticipated to launch on 30 May 2022, subject to joint agreement with government on scheme readiness, including the Central Charging Portal and national vehicle checker. Please contact us at info@cleanairgm.com if your vehicle type isn’t listed.

Your answer...

Fill in the questions to see what class of vehicle you own and whether you would have to pay a daily charge to travel in the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone.

*The Clean Air Plan proposals are still being developed, so the results of this vehicle checker are only a guide. In the meantime, please contact us at info@cleanairgm.com if your vehicle type isn’t listed.

Next steps

The Clean Air Plan process has a number of stages. Scroll to find out more.

The impacts of COVID-19

The government asked Greater Manchester to progress the Clean Air Plan based on proposals developed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to reduced air pollution in the short term. Analysis has shown that this will not be enough to meet legal limits for harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions in the longer term without a Clean Air Zone.

Work has taken place to understand the economic and financial impact of COVID-19 on people and businesses affected by the plans. The final Clean Air Plan proposals take into account evidence from the COVID-19 impacts analysis. Changes include a temporary exemption from the daily Clean Air Zone charge until 31 May 2023 for taxis and private hire vehicles licensed in Greater Manchester, and for coaches and buses not used on a registered bus service in Greater Manchester.

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