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Our journey to clean air starts with you

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How we choose to travel affects us all

Vehicle exhausts can produce harmful gases and tiny particles of soot and other matter that pollute the air we all breathe. They also cause health problems and harm our environment.

Greater Manchester has been in breach of its legal limits for one of the most harmful pollutants – nitrogen dioxide – every year since 2011.

We’re looking hard at ways to improve our air quality. But, unless we all play a part, transport emissions will continue to harm us.


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.

Simply switching your engine off when you’re at a standstill for a while can make a real difference.


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Did you know?

  • Idling wastes more fuel than stopping and restarting your engine.
  • A recent study has shown that by not ticking over we can reduce air pollution during peak travel hours by as much as 30%.
  • Every two minutes of idling uses the same amount of fuel as one mile of driving.
  • Air pollution from exhausts is linked to increases in asthma, allergies, heart and lung disease and cancer.
  • Drivers and their passengers are exposed to fumes as well as people outside the vehicle.
  • If you need to keep warm, your heater fan will still blow warm air for some time after you turn off your engine.

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What more can I do to help reduce air pollution?

While Greater Manchester’s air quality is improving, there is much more we can all do to tackle harmful emissions.

If everyone pledges to make simple changes in their everyday life, we can make real progress. See what you could do:

  • Use buses, trams or trains more often. If you already use public transport, why not encourage your friends and family as well?
  • Walk or cycle where possible. These are the most environmentally friendly ways to get around – and great for your health, too. Definitely worth considering on the school run!
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Car share. Buddy-up with someone at work and split the fuel costs, cut congestion and reduce parking problems and air pollution. Check out our Car Share GM scheme for businesses.
  • Upgrade. When it’s time to upgrade your car, consider an electric or hybrid model, as you pay little or no vehicle excise duty or (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.

Our commitment

We’re working hard with businesses, the NHS and local councils to help make travel more sustainable. Find out more about TfGM’s commitment to cleaner air and the environment.