The consultant, working with Aecom, will draw up a plan to bring pollution from cars and road traffic in the region down to legal levels in the next five years, including potential clean air charges for “the most polluting” vehicles.
The plan will cover all 10 of Greater Manchester’s boroughs and will aim to reduce levels of nitrogen oxide in the air.
Lead advisor Arup and Aecom will work with Greater Manchester’s councils, as well as Transport for Greater Manchester, to work up plans including setting up clean transport funds, investing in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and establishing a clean air zone.
This clean air zone could lead to charges for “the most polluting buses, coaches, HGVs, vans, taxis, and private hire vehicles” to drive in certain areas in the region.
This will build a full business case to be submitted to the Government; an informal consultation is already under way with a full formal consultation to start later in 2019, providing the opportunity for the public and businesses to give their views.
An outline business case was submitted in March; subject to approval, measures would be introduced in Greater Manchester in 2021 in line with a target to reduce emissions by 2024.
Simon Warburton, transport strategy director at TfGM, said: “The Outline Case submitted to government set out a high-level package approach to tackle the urgent problem of air pollution across our city-region.
“There will now be a focus on the detailed design of this package, including the complex technical process to ensure we have the right measures for Greater Manchester.
“This will include wide-ranging engagement and formal consultation with all impacted groups, with feedback taken into consideration before proposals are resubmitted to local authorities for further consideration and approval.
“We will also be pressing the government to ensure that the right national policy framework is put in place, particularly with regard to ensuring that the right funding and supply chain conditions are in place for vehicle renewal, and to establish a clear approach to addressing pollution on the motorway network.”
Dave Newton, director at Arup, added: “Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. With reports published on an almost daily basis giving worrying insights into the effects of air pollution on our health and environment, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that we must act to protect the future health of our towns and cities.
“Drawing on a breadth of technical expertise, we’re committed to working with Greater Manchester to improve its air quality, and in doing so, understand how we can achieve the city-region’s wider strategic goals to promote sustainability, inclusion and growth.”