Agenda item

GM Clean Air Plan Update


Consideration was given to a report of the Executive Director of Place and Economic Growth which set out the case for a new Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan and Greater Manchester’s annual mean standards for Nitrogen Dioxide in 2021.

Poor air quality was a significant public health issue, causing certain types of disease and in Greater Manchester and contributed to 1,200 deaths a year.

The Government had issued directions to local authorities in the UK, including those in Greater Manchester, to take action to address illegal exceedances of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the shortest possible time and, initially in the case of Greater Manchester, by 2024 at the latest.

Greater Manchester authorities had kept the original GM Clean Air Plan, agreed in Summer 2021 under constant review; by tracking emerging evidence and listening to GM businesses and residents who said that it would cause them financial hardship. In late 2021 GM authorities commissioned an independent review of emerging global supply chain issues and the impact this could have on the cost and availability of vehicles, particularly vans.

The review illustrated that the previous agreed plan in summer 2021 would cause businesses and residents financial hardship and the Government agreed with Greater Manchester’s assessment that the plan was no longer likely to achieve compliance in 2024 due to the impact of the pandemic and the supply chain issues for compliant vehicles.

The Government revoked the direction requiring the implementation of a category C charging Clean Air Zone so as to achieve compliance with legal limits for NO2 in the shortest possible time and by 2024 at the latest and Greater Manchester was now required by 1st July 2022 to review existing measures, determine if any changes should be made and to submit that review to the Secretary of State.

A new plan must be deliverable and reduce NO2 concentrations to below legal limits in the shortest possible time and by 2026 at the latest, in a way that recognises the cost-of-living crisis and post pandemic economic conditions. This new plan aimed to be both fair to businesses and residents and should not cause financial hardship to people in Greater Manchester.

The new plan would use the £120 million of Clean Air funding that the Government has awarded to Greater Manchester to deliver an investment led approach to invest in vehicle upgrades, rather than imposing daily charges and in particular through the delivery of zero emission buses in the Bee Network (a London-style integrated transport network). The new plan would ensure that the reduction of harmful emissions is at the centre of GM's wider objectives.

The ten GM local authorities had taken a GM-wide approach to producing a Clean Air Plan because air pollution did not respect local authority boundaries, particularly across densely populated urban areas. This enabled a consistent and coordinated approach to maximise air quality benefits for all people living and working in Greater Manchester; whilst minimising the risk of unintended consequences, such as displacing existing, elevated NO2 concentrations to other locations within Greater Manchester. 


Options/alternatives considered

Option 1 – To approve the recommendations outlined in the report.

Option 2 – Not to approve the recommendations outlined in the report.


1.    The 'Case for a new Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan’ document attached as Appendix 1 and associated appendices A to E had been submitted to the Secretary of State as a draft document subject to any comments from the Council ahead of the next Air Quality Administration Committee be noted.

2.    Councillor Abdul Jabbar as the Council’s appointed representative on the Air Quality Administration Committee will represent Oldham Council comments;

3.    The initial screening undertaken to assess which protected characteristics were likely to be impacted by the new GM Clean Air Plan, and in scope for the Equalities Impact Assessment be noted.

4.    The updated Do Minimum position for 2023 and 2025 and the forecasted points of exceedance in GM in 2023 and 2025 be noted.

5.    The participatory policy development approach and the next steps for the GM CAP be noted.

6.    The new ‘ask’ from Government to remove out-of-area operation by private hire drivers/vehicles to support the new GM Clean Air Plan be noted.

7.    The feedback from early engagement activity with vehicle owner representative groups be noted.

8.    The NO2 monitoring results and the exceedances of the annual mean across sites set up for GM CAP purposes between 2018 and 2021 be noted.


Supporting documents: