Local authorities across England have been granted more than £11 million in government funding to deliver projects to improve air quality.
The money, from the Government’s Air Quality Grant, helps councils develop and implement measures to benefit schools, businesses and communities and reduce the impact of dirty air on people’s health. More than double the funding awarded in 2021 has been made available for this year’s grant, meaning a raft of innovative projects to deliver air quality improvements are being supported.
This includes over £1m of funding for projects that will deliver measures to improve public awareness in local communities about the risks of air pollution, following a recommendation in the Coroner’s Prevention of Future Deaths report after the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah in 2013.
The Government is taking bold action to cut air pollution through the Environment Act, which requires two new targets to be set to reduce the level of fine particulate matter in the air. A public consultation on these targets will be held shortly. Today’s announcement means more than £42 million has been awarded through the Air Quality Grant since 2010 across almost 500 projects.
Agri-innovation and Climate Adaptation Minister Jo Churchill said: “Air pollution is the single biggest environmental risk to public health. It has reduced significantly since 2010, but we know there is more to do, which is why we have doubled the amount of funding awarded this year to help local authorities take vital action.
“The projects supported by this latest round of funding include innovative local schemes to boost the use of green transport, increase monitoring of fine particulate matter – the most harmful pollutant to human health – and improve awareness of the risks of poor air quality around schools and in care homes. Local authorities are best placed to find solutions to the issues they face in their areas, and we will continue to work closely with them and offer support to help deliver real change in cleaning up our air.”
Proposals which have won funding include projects and campaigns to:
- Encourage the uptake of green transport including e-bikes through improved cycling and scooter infrastructure and retrofit projects;
- Promote efficient driving practices that will reduce pollution, such as turning your engine off rather than idling;
- Enhance educational programmes for schoolchildren; and
- Introduce air quality measures in and around care homes.
These projects complement the wider UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. The plan is supporting the uptake of low emissions vehicles, getting more people to cycle and walk, and encouraging cleaner public transport.
It also contributes towards meeting the objectives of Defra’s 2019 Clean Air Strategy, which has been praised by the World Health Organisation as “an example for the rest of the world to follow”.
Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Active travel and the switch to zero emission transport plays a huge role in improving air quality and we’re committed to creating cleaner, faster and more efficient ways of getting from A to B. As we accelerate towards our net zero targets, funding announced today will help make our lives healthier by reducing our carbon footprint and supporting economic growth right across the country.
“The Government is taking bold action to cut air pollution through the Environment Act, which also makes it easier for local authorities to address sources of air pollution in their areas and for the Government to mandate recalls of vehicles that do not meet legal emission standards.”
The announcement means more than £42 million has been awarded through the Air Quality Grant since 2010 across almost 500 projects. Notable projects to receive funding include campaigns to promote greater awareness of pollution from domestic burning; a project to promote electric charging points for canal boats; and collaborations with local businesses to develop low or zero-emissions freight.
In addition to this, £880 million has been made available as part of the Government’s NO2 Plan to support local authorities in tackling nitrogen dioxide exceedances. The Chancellor announced £710 million of new dedicated funding for cycling and walking in his Budget statement over the Spending Review (SR) 21 period, which, when taking other funding streams into account, delivers the £2 billion of funding for cycling and walking over this Parliament promised by the Government.
Together, these projects have contributed to the significant improvement in air quality seen in the UK in recent decades. Since 2010, emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 18%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 44% and sulphur dioxide by 70%.
Read the full article to find out who the local authority schemes receiving funding in this round are:-