Manchester calls for government clarity on Clean Air funding

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Photo Megan Black TFGM Head of Logistics & Environment, Transport for Greater Manchester Photo Megan Black TFGM Head of Logistics & Environment, Transport for Greater Manchester

New Environment Bill in Queen’s speech - Manchester calls for government clarity on Clean Air funding...

Following the announcement of a new Environment Bill in the Queen’s speech, Greater Manchester authorities today made renewed calls on government to commit funding to the region’s ambitious Clean Air Plan proposals.

While the speech set out that the bill would increase local powers to address air pollution, nine months after Greater Manchester submitted its Clean Air Plan outline business case to government, leaders are still waiting for clarification on two key issues.

 

 

In July this year a response from the then Environment Minister Therese Coffey failed to commit to funding to help Greater Manchester businesses upgrade to cleaner vehicles as part of the plan to tackle harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on local roads.

The only government funding committed was £36m to take forward proposals for a charging Clean Air Zone in which the most polluting commercial vehicles would be charged to travel on local roads in Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester authorities are also repeating concerns that Highways England, responsible for managing the motorway network, has not been directed to tackle NO2 levels in breach of legal limits in the same way as Greater Manchester local authorities, undermining work to tackle the issue on local roads.

Greater Manchester Green City-region lead, Councillor Andrew Western, said:

I’m looking forward to seeing the detail behind the Environment Bill announcement, particularly on strengthening local council’s powers to deal with air pollution, but we need major funding from government now to address what is a very serious air quality problem on many local roads across our region. We’re committed to improving the air we all breathe as quickly as possible and we have ambitious proposals that we want to move forward with. It’s harming our health and bad for our economy, but we need to ensure that those local businesses most affected by our Clean Air Zone proposals have the financial support they need to move to cleaner vehicles.

 

Greater Manchester authorities will also write to government urging swift action to tackle the health threat caused by engine idling, which contributes to high levels of air pollution, especially outside schools. Currently councils have the powers to impose a £20 fine on drivers leaving their engine idling, but only if the driver fails to turn off their engine when asked to do so by an enforcement officer.

Councillor Western added:

Back in June, government promised a consultation on proposals to impose tougher fines on people who leave their engines running while parked. We need this to happen as soon as possible, and we’d like stronger anti-idling legislation to be just one part of the package of new local powers promised in the Environment Bill.

 

Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Plan proposals include a significant funding package for businesses to upgrade their fleets to cleaner vehicles, the largest proposed Clean Air Zone in the UK, and a bid to treble the size of the region’s electric vehicle public charging network.

Manchester Highway improvements in 2020

In 2020, Manchester City Council will embark on a ‘once in a generation’ programme of improvement works that will see positive changes made to some of the city’s key highways.

As the city continues to grow there is a need to ensure that it can meet the demands of those choosing to live, work and visit it.

This ambitious multi-million pound investment programme will improve some of the city’s busiest routes and junctions, benefiting millions of commuters and allowing residents, businesses and visitors to better connect, grow and lead healthier lives. The work programme includes a number of major projects and has been shaped by the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy – which sets out to deliver world class connections that support long-term economic growth and access to opportunities for all.

Investing in our future: From January 2020, work led by Manchester City Council will begin in phases on four key commuter corridors:

 

Great Ancoats Street

Hyde Road

Princess Road/Mancunian Way roundabout

Chorlton Road

 

Delivery:

For some months, preparatory work has been taking place on Great Ancoats Street and the Princess Road roundabout but with these works now complete, the main work to deliver the changes will begin in January and February, respectively.

On the outskirts of the city, a key section of Hyde Road, which has long proved to be a pinch point for general traffic and bus services, will see road widening work take place between Wall Way and Far Lane to improve traffic flow. It is expected that this work will begin in early 2020, however, as with all the projects, confirmed start dates will be communicated beforehand.

Full details of these schemes and work programmes associated with each can be found on the Manchester City Council website at manchester.gov.uk/improvements.

Keeping Greater Manchester moving:

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has been working closely with Manchester City Council to develop and deliver bespoke travel advice for each of the schemes. Alongside the various projects being delivered, TfGM also provides up-to-date and reliable travel information and advice for the many major sporting and entertainment events that take place across Greater Manchester each year.

To help people to get around throughout 2020, a new travel advice hub has been created that not only provides comprehensive details of all the events that are taking place across the city region, but it also provides real-time travel information for services and roads across the network.

Travel information and advice will be updated on a weekly basis and people are urged to follow @OfficialTfGM and visit tfgm.com/traveladvice on a regular basis to stay one step ahead when it comes to planning their journeys.

Last modified on Friday, 20 December 2019 17:41
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