Manchester is ready for the next step in its Clean Air Zone plans

28th Jan, 2021

Air quality is an increasingly pressing issue in cities up and down the country at the moment, with Manchester one of many UK cities slated to introduce its own Clean Air Zone plans. Bristol, Bath and Birmingham are all working on their own, with the latter two cities ready to start implementing their own Clean Air Zones in just a few months’ time. Bristol, meanwhile, is still mulling over exactly what its own plans would involve.

Manchester isn’t at either of those two stages, but is somewhere in between. If you’re one of the many drivers who stops to consider the environment when they say scrap my car, you may already know a little about the recent challenges the city council has been facing. Now though, it’s ready to move onto the next stage. Here’s a little more detail about where things stand!

What is Manchester’s Clean Air Zone?

In a nutshell, the Clean Air Zone forms a key part of Manchester’s ongoing strategy to tackle the issue of air quality within its boundaries. As part of the joint Clean Air Plan being developed by all 10 Manchester authority areas, the Clean Air Zone partially modelled on London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone. Its ultimate aim is to bring down the levels of harmful nitrous dioxide in the air, which are currently well above legal levels.

The UK’s central government has instructed Manchester to secure compliance with legal NO2 standards on local roads “in the shortest possible time”, by 2024 at the latest, which is why it’s mandated the introduction of this Category C Clean Air Zone.

Like London’s, the Clean Air Zone will introduce a set of emissions standards that any vehicle entering or operating in the city will have to adhere to. Any vehicle that doesn’t meet these standards will need to pay a daily charge. The idea is to make older, more harmful vehicles less economical to drive, and thereby encourage motorists to upgrade to cleaner, newer vehicles.

Authorities have been keen to stress that this is not the same as a Congestion Charge Zone, where all or most vehicles are charged to drive. The plans were making reasonable progress as of early last year, but unfortunately they’ve hit a pretty major delay.

Why has the Manchester Clean Air Zone been delayed?

You’ve no doubt guessed the main reason already – it begins with a C, and ends with an ovid-19. The impact of coronavirus pandemic means that the introduction of the Clean Air Zone has been delayed to Spring 2022 as things stand, which you’ll notice was a year later than originally planned. That in itself was a pretty controversial change, as city bosses were accused of showing a lax approach to people’s health.

There was a public consultation on the plans initially due in the summer of 2021, but that was postponed due to the national lockdown. The eight-week consultation was finally held between the 8th of October and the 3rd of December 2020, and collected feedback from almost 5000 individuals and businesses – garnering feedback on the specific topics including the Clean Air Zone boundary, the daily charges, and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on people’s daily lives.

In light of the pandemic, the consultation also sought feedback on a new initiative. This is a proposed £150 million government funding support package, designed to help local people and businesses weather the worst of the economic brunt of the pandemic, so that they can move on with their plans to upgrade to cleaner and more compliant vehicles.

So what now?

The people of Greater Manchester are currently waiting on the results of a meeting on the 29th of Jan, in which the Greater Manchester Combined Authority will get an update on the next steps necessary to proceed with the Clean Air Plan.

Officials have already observed that there were indeed short term improvements in air quality due to the national lockdowns of 2020, but these improvements weren’t nearly substantial enough to make a lasting impact – especially since traffic levels had almost reached pre-pandemic levels by the later months of the year. So realistically, the earliest that the rest of us are likely to get some clarity on the next stage is probably going to be in the early days of February.

Whatever the outcome of that meeting is though, you can be sure that we’ll be here to help you scrap your car in the greenest, most efficient way. We’re passionate about continuing to provide you with the easiest, most efficient way to scrap your car – our car recycling rate currently stands at about 95%, but our ultimate goal is to get that figure all the way up to 100% – eliminating vehicle waste entirely.

What’s more, it couldn’t be easier to get your instant scrap car quote. All you have to do is enter your car reg and postcode into the fields on our site, and we’ll give you a free, no obligation quote in seconds. It’s really that easy!

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