Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have delayed the statutory consultation on the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The consultation on the Clean Air Plan had been planned for this summer; however, like other areas of the country, current circumstances have limited TfGM’s ability to progress the delivery of the plan to previous timescales.
TfGM anticipate that there may be wider economic impacts that could significantly change the assumptions that sit behind the current Clean Air Plan Outline Business Case. Work has begun to consider the impacts, and a commitment made to updating the government as the picture becomes clearer over time.
The groups most affected by the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan may require different levels of financial assistance than had been anticipated at the time of the previous submission to government. The UK Government has been in contact with TfGM to express understanding that timelines are likely to be impacted by coronavirus.
The national response to the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that traffic levels on Greater Manchester’s road network have dropped dramatically.
There has been a transformational change in travel behaviour, as people follow government instructions to stay at home, avoid public transport, and drive, cycle and walk where possible for essential journeys; this has resulted in significant reductions in air pollution.
Over the coming weeks and months, work will continue to assess the impact of travel changes on the pollution measured by the real-time air quality analysers across Greater Manchester. This will help inform how changing travel behaviour – and reducing the amount of traffic on our roads in the long term – can positively impact air quality, improve residents’ health, and help meet Greater Manchester’s ambition to become a carbon-neutral city-region.
TfGM, and Greater Manchester’s local authorities have confirmed in a statement that they remain committed to cleaning up Greater Manchester air and work continues, where possible, to progress the Clean Air Plan.