TWO congested routes through Hollingworth and Mottram will be included in Greater Manchester's Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to protect residents from deadly pollutants.
Tameside Council had highlighted to Government Ministers the inconsistency in approach of leaving vulnerable residents unprotected in the two villages, particularly around the A628 and A57, a strategically important trans Pennine route.
The route, managed by Highways England, would have been left with NO2 exceedances despite being declared part of GM's Air Quality Management Area.
But the Government has now agreed to extend GM's CAZ charges to the sections of the A628 and A57 within the proposed CAZ boundary. It follows a full assessment, led by Highways England, of the potential impacts, including air quality on other roads, safety impacts, carbon impacts and any operational and network issues.
The announcement was made as Greater Manchester published its final Clean Air Plan - to be considered by GM Local Authorities - to help tackle the problem of air pollution, which contributes towards at least 1,200 deaths per year in the city-region. It includes a proposed date of 30 May, 2022, for the introduction of the CAZ.
Tameside Council Executive Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington said: "I'm delighted that the A628 and A57 passing through Hollingworth and Mottram will now be included in the Clean Air Zone to help protect all of our residents from the harmful effects of pollution.
"Tameside Council's officers, working in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester, have worked extremely hard to successfully make the case to the Government for their inclusion and I'm grateful that we, and the local community, have been listened to and this decision taken. I'd like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and diligence in achieving this fantastic result.
"This is an important measure in bringing NO2 levels on local roads within legal limits as soon as possible and improving the air quality in Longdendale, alongside the rest of Tameside and Greater Manchester, bringing vital health and environmental benefits.
"These roads have historically been the most polluted in Greater Manchester and this is probably the most significant step to improving public health in Longdendale in decades. We now eagerly await progression of the long-awaited Mottram Bypass, which will take traffic on the A57 away from our villages, reducing congestion and further improving air quality."
It's the first time that Highways England's Strategic Road Network has been included in a Clean Air Zone. A Tameside Council motion passed last year recognised the action needed to protect residents from harmful pollutants and called for Highways England's roads to be included in GM's Clean Air Plan.
The ten GM councils are under direction from Government to introduce a category C charging CAZ – including commercial and passenger vehicles but not private cars – to secure compliance with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limits on local roads in the shortest possible time, and by 2024 at the latest.
Greater Manchester has secured over £120m in government funding to help businesses upgrade to cleaner, compliant vehicles so that they do not incur a daily charge.