Greater Manchester considers plan for clean air zones

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is considering implementing a zone in the city centre which could see drivers of highly polluting vehicles charged a fee.

The news comes after the Department for Education, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published its draft plans to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK. The proposals included charging and non-charging clean air zones.

However, Defra maintained: “It will be the responsibility of local authorities to develop innovative proposals for their local area that will bring pollution levels within the legal limits within the shortest time possible.”

A spokesman for TfGM said they were working closely with Defra on air quality policy in Greater Manchester: “This early-stage exploratory work, for which Defra provided funding, considers a wide range of possible options and scenarios and aims to assess a significant number of variables which need to be considered.

“Over the course of the coming weeks we will be reviewing Defra’s national proposals in line with our Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan, and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will be responding to the consultation as appropriate.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, said: “We do need to improve air quality in Greater Manchester, but we  will not punish drivers of diesel cars who bought them in good faith.

“It is for the government to give diesel drivers help to switch to less polluting vehicles.”