We agree that action is needed to tackle the dirtiest vehicles travelling in and out of the city centre, but the Clean Air Zone charges do not tackle the biggest source of pollution in Greater Manchester – cars. Other major cities, such as Birmingham, have introduced clean air zones but have not exempted private car drivers. Instead of targeting buses, action would be better focused on addressing our congestion crisis. Damaging emissions are four times as bad in nose-to-tail traffic than they would be if traffic is able to flow.
Figures from the Department for Transport show that there were more than 1.14million cars licensed in Greater Manchester at the end of 2017, some 17,600 more than in 2016 and 75,400 more than in 2012. More than a third of these are diesel cars and – along with vans, which will be exempt from the Clean Air Zone tax until 2023 – they are responsible for 71% of Nox pollution, yet buses and coaches make up just 6% of the figure.