More funding for local authority air quality action

The government has announced the latest round of funding from the Air Quality Grant to help local authorities improve air quality across England.

The scheme has awarded more than £61 million to a variety of projects since its inception, benefitting schools, businesses and residents, whilst reducing the impact on people’s health and creating cleaner and healthier environments.

Councils are encouraged to bid for a portion of at least £2 million of central government support for a wide range of projects to improve the air we breathe, including the installation of electric vehicle charging points, improving cycling infrastructure and developing local online air quality resources.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We know the impact air pollution has on public health, which is why we are continuing to provide funding to local authorities to help them to take action to improve air quality for the benefit of schools, businesses and residents. This is part of the much wider strategy to tackle air quality.

“Local authorities are in the best position to address the issues they face around their roads, and we are looking forward to receiving ideas for innovative schemes to reduce emissions and encourage cleaner, more active transport.”

David Renard, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “Air pollution is a public health emergency and this funding will help councils tackle the impact that harmful emissions have on our communities in all its forms. Good air quality is vital for our health and quality of life as well as the environment. We need to be able to live in safe communities, which includes making sure the air we breathe is as free from pollution as possible.

“To further tackle air pollution, the government needs to use the Queen’s Speech to give councils more powers, like the ability for them all to enforce moving traffic offences. If we’re to truly tackle air pollution, we need government support to enable us to deliver effective local plans, and robust national action to help the country transition to low-emission vehicles and local economies.”