Skip to main content

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’re due to present our proposals to Government by the end of March 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.

Using public transport more often is a great way to start. And if you already use buses, trains or trams, why not encourage your friends and family as well?

Walking and cycling 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?

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.

If you drive there are plenty of ways you can make sure your journey is more environmentally friendly.

Greater Manchester also currently has more than 3,500 park and ride spaces for people who need to drive to their local Metrolink stop, train station or bus service.

No matter what you do, try something new.