Local authorities get £2.2 million boost to tackle air pollution


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.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow commented on the announcement: “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.”

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.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean added: “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 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:

Local Authority Project Amount
Blaby District Council Active travel programme aimed at schools and large workplaces £123,378
Canterbury City Council Anti-idling campaign along school route; installation of fast electric charging points £156,377
City of York Council Encourage take up of electric taxis through behaviour and awareness campaign £105,000
Colchester Borough Council Study on effectiveness of anti-idling campaign and Traffic Light Countdown feasibility study £59,785
East Herts Council Enhancement of pedestrian subway that bypasses a dual carriage way to encourage active travel. Working in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council £54,000
East Sussex County Council Schools education, awareness and active travel programme and temporary street closures during the school run. Working in partnership with West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Crawley Borough, Lewes, and Adur & Worthing Councils £81,900
Islington London Borough Council Particulate Matter data gathering and mapping study using street mapping and portable air quality monitors £10,995
Leicester City Council Particulate Matter data gathering and mapping study using 3D Global GEOS-Chem models £124,081
Oxford City Council Trial of a low-cost mobile Automated Number Plate Recognition enforcement system £150,000
Sheffield City Schools education, awareness and active travel programme and temporary street closures during the school run. Working in partnership with Barnsley, and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Councils £144,430
South Buckinghamshire District Council Feasibility study £52,500
Southampton City Council Targeted behaviour and awareness campaign focussed on domestic burning and summer bonfires. Working in partnership with Winchester, Eastleigh, and New Forest Councils £60,100
Transport for West Midlands Retrofit of at least 20 buses to Euro VI. Working in partnership with Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Cannock Chase, North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Redditch, Rugby, Shropshire, Stratford on Avon, Tamworth, Telford and Wrekin, Warwickshire Councils £340,000
Warrington Borough Council Encourage take up of electric taxis through behaviour and awareness campaign. Develop low emission taxi strategy. Install rapid charge points £87,350
Westminster Cross River Partnership Expansion on Clean Air Village 1&2 Projects – engagement and behavioural change project to reduce emissions from the delivery of good and services for businesses, hospitals and communities. Partners include 12 London Boroughs: Westminster, Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth, City of London Corporation and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea; and 4 Business Improvement Districts: Angel, London, The Fitzrovia Partnership, North Bank and South Bank £573,370
Wokingham Borough Council Active travel behaviour and awareness campaign for children, parents and teachers £150,101