Greater Manchester's Clean Air Plan - Tackling Nitrogen Dioxide Exceedances at the Roadside - Update
- Meeting of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 8th January, 2020 2.00 pm (Item 6.)
Report of The Strategic Director (Growth and Development)
This report sets out the progress that has been made following the Government’s response to Greater Manchester’s Outline Business Case to tackle Nitrogen Dioxide Exceedances at the Roadside (OBC), and the implications for the 10 Greater Manchester (GM) local authorities in relation to the schedule of work and statutory consultation on the Clean Air Plan (CAP).
The Committee is invited to comment on the report prior to its submission to the Executive on 15 January 2020.
The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director (Growth and Development) that described the progress that had been made following the Government’s response to Greater Manchester’s Outline Business Case to tackle Nitrogen Dioxide Exceedances at the Roadside, and the implications for the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities in relation to the schedule of work and statutory consultation on the Clean Air Plan.
The Committee had been invited to comment on the report prior to its submission to the Executive on 15 January 2020.
The main points and themes within the report included: -
· Providing an introduction and background;
· Describing progress to date in relation to the introduction of a Clean Air Zone;
· Information on the approach to vehicle idling and the intention to undertake more awareness raising campaigns to inform of the health impacts that idling had on air quality.; and
· Next steps.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· Welcoming the proposed Clean Taxi Fund, to support the upgrade of non-compliant Greater Manchester Licensed taxi and private hire vehicles;
· What was being done to improve the taxi fleet across Greater Manchester;
· Noting that that report did not address the issue of particulate matter, commenting that brake wear and tyre wear directly contributed to particle pollution from road transport; and
· What were the proposals to support smaller, local coach companies.
The Head of Local Planning and Infrastructure informed the Members that negotiations were still currently ongoing with central government regarding funding for the Clean Taxi Fund. He also confirmed that consideration would be given as to how to compensate smaller, local coach companies. He further commented that all proposals would be subject to formal consultation.
The Head of Local Planning and Infrastructure responded to the comments regarding particulate matter by informing Members that this issue was likely to be addressed in the Environment Bill that was announced in the Queen's Speech in December 2019.
The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport expressed her frustration that despite government announcements to invest in the North, to date no funding had been provided by central government to Greater Manchester to support commercial vehicle owners to make the transition to cleaner vehicles as part of the ambition to tackle Nitrogen Dioxide Exceedances at the Roadside. She also emphasised that Manchester remained committed to promoting improved public transport and active travel, however increased levels of investment from Government was required to support this. She emphasised how important this work was in supporting the city’s emissions targets and its objective of improving health outcomes for Manchester citizens.
The Chair encouraged all Members and citizens, if they had not already done so, to complete the TfGM consultation response on ‘Doing Buses Differently’ that would close on the 8 January 2020. The Chair further reminded Members that a report on taxi licensing and the activities across Greater Manchester to improve standards was scheduled to be considered by the Committee at their meeting of 4 March 2020.
The Committee endorse the recommendations contained within the report that the Executive:
a) note progress made to date;
b) note the ministerial direction under the Environment Act 1995 (Greater Manchester) Air Quality Direction 2019 which requires all ten of the Greater Manchester local authorities to implement a charging Clean Air Zone Class C across the region;
c) agree the need to continue to proceed towards developing the implementation and contract arrangements of a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Greater Manchester utilising the initial tranche of £36m of funding as required by the ministerial direction / feedback;
d) delegate authority to Chief Executive, in consultation with the Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport to determine the preparatory implementation and contract arrangements that need to be undertaken utilising the initial tranche of £36m of funding to deliver the CAZ and other GM CAP measures, as set out at paragraph 3.11;
e) note that the report to determine the timings for commencing the consultation will be received in the Spring of 2020;
f) note the outstanding need to secure a clear response from the Government on clean vehicles funding asks;
g) ask officers to work with TfGM to develop a business case and funding strategy for submission to Government to deliver a zero carbon bus fleet as quickly as possible; noting the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions from transport and to reduce nitrogen oxide exceedances towards which buses currently make a major contribution, particularly within the city centre;
h) note that Highways England has not been directed to act in relation to tackling NO2 exceedances in the same way as the Greater Manchester local authorities, and that this will leave some publicly accessible areas of GM adjacent to trunk roads managed by Highways England, with NO2 exceedances that are not being addressed by the Highways England plan;
i) delegate authority to Chief Executive to agree the final content and submission of the documents listed in Appendix One for formal submission to JAQU and note their Publication status;
j) delegate authority to Chief Executive to determine any further technical reports for formal submission to JAQU; and
k) note that the Executive member for the Environment, Planning and Transport will co-sign a letter from the GM Authorities to the Secretary of State for Transport asking them to bring forward the launch of a statutory consultation to strengthen rules on vehicle idling.