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BlogWill Greater Manchester Introduce More Clean Air Zones?

Will Greater Manchester Introduce More Clean Air Zones?

Cars and other vehicles have been increasingly creating pollution for decades. It’s this increase of harmful emissions in the atmosphere that led to the UK government and some EU countries to introduce a petrol and diesel ban. While there has recently been a move to overturn the ban, there are cities across the taking steps towards reducing pollutants that affect residents.

Will Manchester join these cities? How likely is it that we’ll see Clean Air Zones in the region?

What are Clean Air Zones?

Clean Air Zones (CAZ) are designated areas of a city where there has been a direct move to improve the air quality. Clean Air Zones were originally set to apply to buses, taxis and HGVs. But this was changed to include non-compliant private vehicles. This means that private motorists may be affected by them too.

There are different types of CAZ that are divided into different classes. These classes detail if private vehicles are affected, for instance, motorcycles. The cities that have so far introduced CAZ fall into different classes.

Air pollution in Greater Manchester

According to Clean Air Greater Manchester, air pollution contributes to around 1,200 deaths a year in the region.

Manchester City Council has already taken steps to improve the air quality, listing among other things the funding of the free city centre bus, introducing pedestrianised parts of the centre and improving bus and cycle lanes.

Introducing CAZ in the city remains on the to-do list, however. There was originally a plan in place to set this up in May 2022. But due to major events after the pandemic, such as the cost-of-living crisis, it was agreed that a CAZ at this point could cause “significant hardship”.

While there are financial repercussions of introducing a CAZ at this stage, high pollution levels continue to impact on businesses and communities. There is a deadline in place to have a CAZ ready by 2026, but for those exposed to pollutants every day, it could impact on their health in the meantime.

Switching to EVs

Making the move to electric vehicles now could be a solution in the meantime. The ban on diesel and petrol vehicles may not be introduced for another decade, but getting used to EVs now could help prepare for the phasing out of standard fuel, plus it could bring down emissions in built up areas across Manchester in the meantime.

For those thinking about trying EVs before making the leap to ownership, it could be worth borrowing a friend’s EV to see if it suits you. Taking out temporary insurance and hitting the road for a few hours could be the ideal insight into EVs.

Alternative options

Taking the bus or hopping on the bike might also be helpful alternatives. The free bus that runs through the centre can be particularly helpful if you’ve come into town by train and need to get across the centre.

While the CAZ may still be in the pipeline, there are ways to help reduce emissions in the meantime.

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