Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone installation begins

Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone installation begins

Greater Manchester has begun the installation of equipment and signage ahead of the launch of the city’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in May 2022.

The city is set to follow London, Birmingham, and Bath in creating a CAZ, while several more, including Bristol, Leicester, Bradford, Newcastle, Sheffield, and a host of other UK cities have plans in the pipeline.

In total 2,000 signs and 850 ANPR cameras will be installed across Greater Manchester’s highways network ahead of the CAZ going live.

The CAZ will operate 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, with vehicles liable to pay the charge using the government’s online portal to make payment.

What’s changing?

Local councils in the UK are introducing CAZ’s to ensure that they are compliant with NO2 legal limits, with the government encouraging local authorities to introduce the low emission zones.

Councils have been instructed to achieve the NO2 targets by 2024 by charging non-compliant commercial and passenger vehicles that drive within the zones.

Each zone operates slightly differently, with Manchester’s CAZ making private cars exempt, which is in contrast to Birmingham’s, which is charging older private cars that aren’t compliant.

All ten of Greater Manchester’s local authorities have now approved the Clean Air Plan, which encompasses the Category C CAZ.

What help is available?

More than £120 million in government funding has been announced for Greater Manchester to help fleets and commercial vehicle owners upgrade ahead of the launch of the zone in May 2022.

Greater Manchester has now published its final Clean Air Plan, with the £120 million funding application window set to open in November.

The funding available includes:

  • £3.2 million Bus Replacement Fund to support the replacement of non-compliant buses that can’t be retrofitted
  • £14.7 million in the Bus Retrofit Fund for non-compliant buses in Greater Manchester to be retrofitted
  • £21.4 million via the Clean Taxi Fund for taxis licenced in Greater Manchester and private hire vehicle owners, drivers, and operators to switch to cleaner vehicles
  • £87.9 million through the Clean Commercial Vehicle Fund for vans, HGVs, coaches, and minibuses

What does the funding mean?

The funding means that fleet operators and commercial vehicle owners can access up to £4,500 per vehicle towards its replacement, which is significantly higher than the initially proposed £3,500.

Greater Manchester Hackney Cabs are eligible for up to £10,000 in grant funding, while HGVs can receive up to £12,000 towards replacement, and coaches will be eligible for £32,000 per vehicle.

Taxi and private hire cab owners registered in Greater Manchester, as well as light goods vehicle (LGV) operators, are set to be given more leeway in upgrading too.

For the first year of the CAZ’s operation, there will be temporary exemptions for Hackney cabs, private hire vehicles, vans, minibuses, and coaches.

Are you prepared for the introduction of Clean Air Zones in cities across the UK? Do you know if any vehicles in your fleet will be liable for charges?