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25/10/2018

Greater Manchester air pollution exceeds estimates

Words: Huw Morris
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Air pollution in Greater Manchester is considerably worse than has been previously estimated, according to latest research.

Eleven locations across seven Greater Manchester local authorities were identified under the government’s air pollution model last year as expected to breach nitrogen oxide (NO2) limits beyond 2020.

But a report on the city region’s clean air plan, to be considered by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority this week, now estimates that 152 stretches of road will contravene the limits. A total of 112 are on road links with the highest car use and heavy freight with another 40 in town centres across the city region.

More than 60 local authorities are under direction from the government to develop proposals for combating NO2 pollution. The 10 Greater Manchester authorities are working alongside Public Health England and the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit on a clean air plan.

Among measures the city region is considering upgrading or retrofitting public transport fleets with cleaner engines, increasing the use of electric vehicles, expanding cycling and walking infrastructure – and introducing Clean Air Zones, which would financially penalise the most polluting vehicles.

“We’re calling on the government to give Greater Manchester the tools we need to tackle the problem together – this means a local vehicle scrappage scheme and funding for cleaner engines for buses and taxis,” said Alex Ganotis, who leads the combined authority on the environment, green spaces and air quality.

“In developing our clean airPlan, Greater Manchester is following a strictly defined process set out by the government to run feasibility studies on potential NO2 air pollution compliance measures.

“I want to be clear that a congestion charge is not being considered as part of this process. But we do have to consider how we ensure that dirty vehicles are not polluting our air. This is a major public health problem for Greater Manchester.”

Image credit | iStock 

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