Extra funding for local authorities to tackle air pollution

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Local projects to improve air quality across England will get a £7m funding boost this year, the UK government has confirmed, as applications opened for this year’s scheme.

The Air Quality Grant helps councils develop and implement measures to benefit schools, businesses and communities and reduce the impact of polluted air on people’s health.

At least £1m of the £9m available this year will be dedicated to projects 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 Kissi-Debrah in 2013.

These could include projects to inform people about the ways to reduce their exposure to emissions by avoiding pollution hotspots. Projects that deal with improving air quality, as well as improving knowledge about the health risks, are also being encouraged to apply.

Local authorities can also bid for a portion of the fund for a wide range of other projects to improve air quality and create cleaner and healthier environments.

UK transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “From schools to local businesses, the Air Quality Grant will help local councils implement measures to clean up our air as we build back greener, reduce our carbon footprint and look ahead to COP26. These could include projects to help businesses make the switch to greener transport, or help local authorities better monitor pollution from roads.

“The funding will help us improve air quality, meet our climate change obligations, and support economic growth right across the country.”

According to the UK Department for Transport, the Air Quality Grant forms part of a wider plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations, which includes a £3.5bn investment into air quality and cleaner transport. The plan is supporting the uptake of low emissions vehicles, getting more people to cycle and walk, and encouraging cleaner public transport.

Applications for the grant are now open and close on Friday 08 October 2021.

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