£11.6m boost for local authorities to tackle air pollution

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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.

Today’s 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%.

The local authority schemes receiving funding in this round are:

Local authority Project Amount
Blaby District Council Purchase of particulate matter monitors and development of a public facing app supported by communication and engagement activities for most vulnerable. Recruitment of an Air Quality Officer. £155,121
Bradford Metropolitan District Council Purchase of particulate matter monitors and development of the existing public facing website for information on particulate matter relating to domestic combustion and Non-Road Mobile Machinery. Supported by communication and engagement activities for vulnerable groups. £253,432
Brighton and Hove City Council Retrofit of 40 buses to Euro-VI standard. (Working in partnership with Lewes and Eastbourne District Councils, Worthing-Adur District Council, Horsham District Council, Crawley District Council and Rother District Council) £499,500
Brighton and Hove City Council Sensors upgrade to monitor particulate matter; supported by community engagement with a focus in schools. (Working in partnership with Lewes and Eastbourne District Council, Worthing-Adur District Council, Horsham District Council Crawley District Council) £376,800
Buckinghamshire Council Renovation of a 10 year old Dennis Eagle 26 tonne Refuse Collection Vehicle to include an electric power train; installation of telematics system and 5 years’ worth of replacement parts. £578,000
Buckinghamshire Council Purchase and trial of electronic diffusion tubes implemented by the public, and community engagement focussed on schools. £91,273
Canterbury City Council Purchase of sensors to publicise real time data on particulate matter and NO2 on existing website – supported by an education and communication campaign. £129,681
Cheshire East Borough Council Communication campaign to raise awareness in Cheshire East on the health impacts around idling and domestic burning to encourage behavioural change. £54,607
Colchester Borough Council Development of an e-cargo bike delivery service made through a bespoke booking app so shoppers and visitors to Colchester Town Centre can book deliveries to their homes within a 5 mile radius or a nearby smart locker. £188,587
Doncaster Council Schools’ street closure, and communication and engagement project to raise awareness of transport emissions to change attitudes and influence behaviour and encourage mode shift from car to active travel £104,000
Dorset Council Additional monitoring and public awareness campaign to improve knowledge of particulate matter £53,339
Eastleigh Borough Council Communication campaign and schools’ engagement focussed on active travel. £132,932
Essex County Council Schools’ education and awareness theatre production and air Quality monitoring in schools. Plus, updates to existing local Air Quality website £279,489
Gloucestershire County Council Development of an E-bike company that will operate a small fleet of bikes and electric vehicles out of a warehouse near the centre of Cheltenham to act as delivery depot. £40,000
Hammersmith and Fulham Council Monitoring, engagement, and awareness raising in schools £145,590
Hertfordshire County Council Air Quality data collection for particulate matter and NO2 communications campaign to raise community awareness. £132,000
Ipswich Borough Council Domestic burning behaviour change campaign £115,632
Islington London Borough Council Audit of care homes to introduce air quality improvement measures £267,060
Lancaster City Council Domestic burning behaviour change campaign £198,794
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Development of Barking & Dagenham Airspace platform to encourage engagement between vulnerable groups £218,800
London Borough of Camden Large communication campaign across 13 London Boroughs on particulate matter and domestic burning. (Working in partnership with London Borough of Islington, London Borough of Brent, London Borough of Croydon, London Borough of Ealing, London Borough of Haringey, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames, London Borough of Lewisham, London Borough of Merton, Royal Borough of Richmond Upon Thames, London Borough of Sutton, London Borough of Waltham Forest, London Borough of Wandsworth, City of Westminster) £300,000
London Borough of Ealing Air Quality Educational resource supported by live data. £237,502
London Borough of Hackney Creation and promotion of local web site to improve knowledge and encourage behaviour change in vulnerable groups. (Working in partnership with City of London, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London Borough of Newham) £313,720
London Borough of Southwark Project aims reduce emissions from gas boilers at schools through installation of replacement heat pumps. Supported by a Project officer to co-ordinate. £375,000
Medway Council Taxi and private hire Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Feasibility Study £113,400
Medway Council Anti-idling campaign on busy high street £14,110
North West Leicestershire District Council Monitoring of particulate matter to develop knowledge of domestic burning and reduce emissions through behavioural change. (In partnership with Harborough District Council) £27,240
Oxfordshire County Council Expansion of a Zero Emissions Zone in area in Oxford city following on from a previous pilot scheme. (Working in partnership with Oxford City Council) £970,700
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Driver training scheme for Council employees £64,018
Southampton City Council Clean Air schools’ engagement and behaviour change programme £350,533
London Borough of Southwark Air quality mapping tool to gather data and share info via air TEXT, schools messaging and hospital outpatient clinics. (In partnership with London Borough of Lambeth) £617,000
St Helens Borough Council Set up a programme to provide a grant programme to retrofit or replace polluting vehicles to low or zero emission. £650,000
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Air Quality monitoring and anti-idling campaign with schools £36,664
Transport for Greater Manchester Particulate matter monitoring and communication campaign to improve community knowledge and influence behaviour. (Working with Bolton Council, Bury Council, Manchester City Council, Oldham Council, Rochdale Council, Salford City Council, Stockport Council, Tameside Council, Trafford Council, Wigan Council) £573,956
Uttlesford District Council Particulate matter awareness and behaviour change. Clean air pilot scheme through try before you buy e-bikes, e-cargo bikes and e-vehicle car club, and a traffic management scheme £517,124
West Midlands Combined Authority Retrofit of 10 buses to Euro-VI standard and conversion of 6 buses to electric. (Working with Dudley MBC, Sandwell MBC, Walsall MBC, and City of Wolverhampton) £999,072
West Northamptonshire Council Data gathering on congested routes and public information campaign £148,297
Westminster City Council Project to move freight to London by river rather than road and continue ongoing deliveries through fleet of zero emission electric vehicles, cargo bikes and walking. (Delivered through Westminster Cross River Partnership in partnership with London Boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Wandsworth. Plus, Port of London Authority (PLA), Cadogan Estates, and The Fitzrovia Partnership) £1,000,000
Wigan Council Schools and community education programme. Followed by information campaign for vulnerable groups £99,094
Wokingham Borough Council Information and behaviour changes campaign to promote active travel in favour of cars and school buses

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