FIS has been contacted as part of the consultation process by Transport for Greater Manchester on plans to implement a new Clean Air Zone, similar to the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London. Currently our position would be that this would be a concern for members. Using public transport to do the type of work we do isn’t really an option, so this becomes a tax on business. Whilst we fully understand the responsibility on individuals and changing habits to avoid traffic build-up and the consequential pollution issues, consideration has to be given to essential works. Transport for Greater Manchester seriously need to consider business permits and ensuring that this doesn’t become another stealth tax on businesses that cannot avoid driving into the zone.
Members are encouraged to respond to the first stage of informal consultation when it opens on 13 May (will remain live until 23 June). This is your opportunity to explain how the proposals will affect you.
Poor air quality contributes to the equivalent of 1,200 deaths a year in Greater Manchester. Air pollution plays a part in breathing illnesses, heart disease, stroke, and even some cancers. It particularly affects the vulnerable including the elderly, people with health conditions, and children. However, it reduces everyone’s life expectancy by an average of six months. Polluted air is now the biggest environmental risk to public health linked to deaths in the UK.
Although air quality is improving in Greater Manchester, we exceed legal annual limits for harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in many areas. Road transport is responsible for 80% of NO2 pollution at the roadside. The largest and heaviest older diesel vehicles, such as HGVs and buses, have the highest emissions per vehicle.
The 10 Greater Manchester local authorities are working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to produce a Clean Air Plan to tackle NO2 exceedances.
Our Clean Air Plan proposals outline the introduction of a Greater Manchester-wide Clean Air Zone from 2021. This would mean that non-compliant buses, taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses, HGVs, LGVs and coaches would pay a penalty to drive into, and within, the GM boundary. Cars would not pay a fine. The proposals also include measures to support local businesses and organisations to upgrade their vehicles to ensure they are compliant and do not need to pay a penalty.
More information can also be found on www.cleanairgm.com.
Find out if your vehicles would pay to enter the Clean Air Zone by checking the vehicle tracker: https://cleanairgm.com/clean-air-zone-vehicle-checker/questions