The campaign for local clean air has received a boost with Greater Manchester successfully bidding for £3 million funding to help reduce harmful emissions from the region’s bus fleet.
The region is one of 20 local authorities to successfully bid to the national Clean Bus Technology Fund.
In Greater Manchester, funding will be used to allow bus operators to fit vehicles with technology to reduce tailpipe emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – one of the most harmful pollutants.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will now ask Greater Manchester’s bus operators to bid for a share of this funding, with a view to targeting areas with high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Air pollution is one of the most pressing public health issues of our times. We have already taken steps to invest in cleaner buses in Greater Manchester and this funding will help us go further.
“While this is good news, I’m still extremely concerned that the level of government funding available is inadequate to address the scale of the problem.
“The Government’s Clean Air Plan places the burden of tackling emissions on local authorities but lacks specifics on national action, and we need a range of local and national measures to address this effectively.
“Investing in cleaning up local bus fleets will be critical to ensuring bus plays its role in addressing air pollution, both through cleaner vehicles and by offering a more attractive way to travel than the private car.”
Today’s announcement follows previous successful funding bids, including the ‘Clean Air for Schools’ programme funded by the Department for Transport. This saw 41 TfGM-owned diesel Yellow School Buses fitted with air pollution control equipment that reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 99%.
In July 2017 the Government identified 11 specific areas in Greater Manchester where it is projected that national legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) will still be exceeded beyond 2020.
TfGM and district councils are currently coordinating a Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan.