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Have your say on a safer, less polluted Manchester

The quality of the air in Greater Manchester is to be tackled with an action plan to bring down vehicle emissions being put to public consultation last week.

The interim city Mayor, Tony Lloyd, has launched a draft plan, with measures aimed at the worst areas near major roads - many of which fail UK and EU legal air quality standards.

Most concerning are the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter - which are mainly the result of vehicle emissions, and diesel engines are the worst offenders.

The city is not currently expected to attain its emissions targets until at least 2020.

The new measures include lower emission buses and electric vehicles, consolidating freight traffic and creating a new Clean Air Zone.

“Air quality and carbon emissions are two of the key challenges facing Greater Manchester… We must take action to stop these deaths – doing nothing is not an option”, said Tony Lloyd.

Manchester is not currently one of the five English cities to receive central Government funding for Clean Air Zones, which charge tolls to higher polluting vehicles.

But there is funding to carry out a feasibility study for a zone in Manchester, and any plans are likely to include an improvement in cycle infrastructure as a key part.

The eight-week consultation is being carried out by TfGM on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and closes on Friday April 2019 2016.

You can add your thoughts here.

Up to 2,000 excess deaths a year could be being caused by Manchester’s air pollution.

Dr Jon Lamonte, from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) said: “We need to do more to reduce air pollution as a contributor to ill-health in Greater Manchester, to meet UK and EU air quality thresholds as soon as possible and, ultimately, to make low-emission behaviours an important part of our culture and lifestyles.

“Air quality and carbon emissions are two of the key challenges facing Greater Manchester. We must take action to stop these deaths – doing nothing is not an option.

“The need to achieve tough air quality improvement targets will require commitment from a range of organisations to ensure Greater Manchester’s continued development as one of the UK’s foremost city regions.”

Last year we reported how Paris went car-free for a day to explore how air pollution was affecting the city.

For one day private cars - and motorbikes - with diesel or petrol engines were shunned from the city's streets in a bid to raise awareness of the dangerous levels of pollution the city suffers, and to showcase city life without motor cars, where pedestrians and cyclists instead have priority.

Paris Sans Voitures took place ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, whose goal is to agree a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change from all nations of the world.

Pictures shared on Twitter showed what would normally be car-choked boulevards blissfully quiet.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.