Councils across England have been granted almost £11m in a recent funding round from the UK government’s Air Quality Grant for projects to support the improvement of local air quality.
This year’s grants total £10.7m and cover projects including: the education of doctors, nurses and social care workers about air quality; electrification of a diesel refuse collection vehicle and procurement of an electric road sweeper; rolling out monitoring sensors to make real-time air quality information publicly available in Lewisham; and the deployment of an Air Quality Officer to visit Cornish schools.
Some other projects to receive funding include almost £280,000 for Derbyshire County Council for data collection to develop and deliver a traffic management plan to reduce congestion, more than £470,000 for the London borough of Brent to develop low-pollution walking maps for schools and £327,000 to Reading Borough Council to build an interactive education programme in primary and secondary schools to raise awareness about air quality and encourage behaviour changes to reduce air pollution.
Rebecca Pow, environment minister, said: “We have made great strides in tackling air pollution at a national level since 2010, but we must do more to improve air quality and protect public health.
“From Tyneside to Cornwall, this funding will support a range of inspiring and innovative projects across the country – stepping up our monitoring of harmful pollutants, educating the public and boosting the use of green transport.
“This builds on our world-leading Environment Act commitments that will enhance our natural environment and safeguard public health for future generations.”
The government also hopes to reduce the impact of air pollution through the Environment Act, and has set two legally-binding targets to reduce the level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – the most harmful pollutant to human health – in air across the UK by 2040.
Last week, the government published The Environmental Improvement Plan, which sets out interim targets to reduce concentrations of, and reduce public exposure to, PM2.5 by the end of January 2028.
This most recent funding round means that approximately £53m has been awarded across almost 500 projects through the Air Quality Grant scheme since 2010.