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Air quality

How we choose to travel has an impact on us all.

Harmful emissions from road transport not only pollute the air we all breathe, but also harm our environment and can damage our economy.
Poor air quality and carbon emissions are two of the most important challenges facing us all.

Air pollution is a major cause of ill-health in our communities and linked to around 2,000 premature deaths each year. Greenhouse gases also cause significant, long-term damage to the environment.

We’re looking hard at ways to tackle emissions from road transport. This will help to improve air quality and also help reduce the carbon dioxide emissions contributing to climate change.

But unless we all play a part, transport-related air pollution and emissions will continue to pose serious health, environmental and economic challenges for the city-region.


What are we doing?

Nitrogen oxides, especially nitrogen dioxide, and particulates (tiny particles of soot and other matter), are the most worrying air pollutants in Greater Manchester.

Unfortunately, data shows that the region has been in breach of its legal limits for nitrogen dioxide every year since 2011.

While nitrogen dioxide levels and carbon emissions in Greater Manchester are falling, more action is needed.

We’re playing a leading role in lowering emissions by helping to implement the Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan.

We’re investing in and encouraging greater use of public transport and cycling and walking to make sustainable travel the most attractive way to move around Greater Manchester.

We’re also working with schools, businesses, local authorities and the NHS across the region to raise awareness of air quality issues and offer practical advice and help on how to take action.

The Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan are complemented by the Greater Manchester Climate Change implementation plan to meet ambitious targets to reduce regional CO2 emissions by 48% by 2020.

In July 2017 the Government published its UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

TfGM is conducting feasibility studies on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to identify how best to meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide as soon as possible.

We’ve identified a range of measures that could help Greater Manchester tackle instances of air pollution breaching legal limits in the shortest possible time. The plan will be presented to Government by the end of 2018.


What can you do?

While Greater Manchester’s air quality is improving, much more can still be done by residents and businesses to address harmful emissions in the region.

We want everyone who lives, works and travels in Greater Manchester to consider how they could change their travel habits to help reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions.

If everyone pledged to make a simple change in their everyday life, we can make real progress. Take a look at some ideas…

  • Using buses, trains and trams more often: And if you already use buses, trains or trams, why not encourage your friends and family as well?
  • Try Walking and cycling more: They are the most environmentally friendly ways to get around – and great for your health. Perhaps you can walk or cycle to your local bus or tram stop or train station?
  • Park and Ride: Greater Manchester has more than 3,500 park and ride spaces for people who’d like to drive to their local Metrolink stop, train station or bus stop.
  • Retime your commute: If you need to drive to and from work, can you change the time you commute to reduce air pollution at peak hours?
  • Work from home: Can you avoid travel by working from home one day a week? Just swap face-to-face meetings for video conferencing, and sitting on your own in traffic for chatting to your colleagues. Plus you can have a lie-in, pick up the kids from school, go for an early meal… and make the air cleaner for everyone.
  • Don’t drive under pressure: Correctly inflated tyres can save fuel and reduce pollution, so make sure you check yours regularly.
  • Engine off when you stop! Running the engine when your car is stationary – otherwise known as ‘idling’ or ‘ticking over’ – is one way you could be making our air pollution problem worse. Switching your engine off when you’re at a standstill for a while can make a real difference.
  • Car share for Clean Air: Buddy-up with someone at work and split the fuel costs, cut congestion and reduce parking problems and air pollution. Check out the Car Share GM scheme for businesses.
  • Go electric! When it’s time to upgrade your car, consider an electric or hybrid model, as you pay little or no vehicle excise duty (road tax) on these. They’re cheaper to run, maintenance costs are much lower, they’re quieter and they don’t emit air pollution or carbon dioxide.
  • Ditch the school run: We all understand the traffic problems caused by the school run. Sadly this also causes pollution affecting our children. Leaving the car behind and walking or cycling with the kids to school more regularly can make a real difference.
  • Change the way you shop online: Use click and collect instead of deliveries to your work or home, or choose a longer (3-5 day) delivery time to help companies plan ahead and reduce their on-the-road van miles.

No matter what you do, try something new.