Local authorities get £2.2 million boost to tackle air pollution

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Air Quality Grant provides money for innovative local authority projects to encourage active and cleaner transport and reduce harmful emissions outside schools.

Local authorities across England have been granted more than £2.2 million in government funding to deliver innovative projects to improve air quality.

The money, from the government’s Air Quality Grant, supports schemes which help councils develop and implement measures to benefit schools, businesses and residents, reducing the impact on people’s health and creating cleaner and healthier environments.

Proposals receiving funding include projects and campaigns to:

reduce harmful emissions outside schools;
encourage the take up of electric taxis;
encourage more active transport through education, awareness, and the creation and improvement of cycling and pedestrian routes;
and collect further data on the exposure to air pollution by vulnerable groups in order to better design future policies.
The £2,273,367 awarded in this round of funding means that more than £64 million has been awarded through the Air Quality Grant since it was launched in 1997.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

While air pollution has reduced significantly in recent decades, we know the impact that it continues to have on communities in the UK. That is why the government is committed to not only improving air quality on a national level, but also helping local authorities take action in their own areas.

The projects supported by this latest round of funding demonstrate how local authorities can deliver innovative solutions for their communities, and we’ll be working with them closely to offer ongoing support.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said:

It’s important that we improve air quality in communities across the country, and these grants will help local authorities create cleaner, healthier places to live.

From greener buses to improved cycling routes, we’re determined to harness innovation to make low-carbon travel the norm.

Air quality has improved significantly over recent decades, and since 2010 nitrogen oxide (NO2) is down by 33%. The Air Quality Grant forms part of the wider UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Concentrations, which includes a £3.5 billion investment into air quality and cleaner transport.

As a result of the NO2 plan, and alongside the Air Quality Grant, the government has been working with 61 local authorities – and providing £880 million in funding – to reduce NO2 concentrations through local plans that are effective, fair, good value, and will deliver required improvements in the shortest time possible.

There are connected plans and initiatives that promote the uptake of low emissions vehicles, getting more people to cycle and walk, and encouraging cleaner public transport.

In addition to this plan, the Clean Air Strategy, the most ambitious air quality strategy in a generation, has been praised by the World Health Organisation as “an example for the rest of the world to follow”.

The government has also recently taken bold action to cut pollution from household burning – the single largest source of the pollutant Particulate Matter (PM2.5), which is the most harmful air pollutant for human health – by phasing out the sale of coal and wet wood for domestic burning and encouraging the use of cleaner fuels in the home.

List of local authority schemes receiving funding in this round: