Poor air quality is associated with a number of adverse health impacts. It is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions. There is also often a strong correlation with equalities issues, because areas with poor air quality are also often the less affluent areas.
Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) are areas that are likely to exceed the national air quality objective for a specific pollutant. Bolton has an AQMA which is now part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority AQMA. Bolton Council works with Clean Air GM on improving local air quality. Long term trends show that there has been an improvement in air quality but areas still remain above the annual mean air quality objective for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
Greater Manchester’s Air Quality Action Plan identifies the following broad actions to improve air quality:
Development management and planning regulation: including standardisation of regulation and policy across the Greater Manchester region.
Freight and HGVs: there are several opportunities to reduce emissions associated with the movement of freight and goods by road.
Buses: Buses have a vital role to play in transporting the public and give opportunities to improve air quality. New legislative developments, the creation of the future Greater Manchester bus strategy and improvements to vehicle standards will all assist in ensuring that bus continues to play a vital role into the future, carrying the majority of public transport journeys made within the conurbation.
Cycling: Existing strategies and initiatives encourage cycling.
Travel Choices: Encouraging the public and businesses to make sustainable travel choices.
Cars: Measures to reduce emissions from cars and reduce the number of vehicle trips.
Information and resources: Education and the provision of information to the public, businesses and policy makers.