£10.7 million for local authorities

Local authorities across England have been granted almost £11 million in the latest round of funding for projects intended to help improve air quality.

The funding, from the Government’s annual Air Quality Grant, totals £10.7 million, and includes funding for programmes that will educate doctors, nurses and social care workers about air quality; electrify a diesel refuse collection vehicle and procure an electric road sweeper in Blaby, Leicestershire; and roll out monitoring sensors to make real-time air quality information available to the public in Lewisham, south London.

On Tyneside, a long-term campaign aimed at schools and pollution hotspots in residential areas will educate people of all ages about the dangers of air pollution, whilst an Air Quality Officer will be employed in Cornwall to visit schools.

Funding will also seemingly support an e-cargo bike library, helping local businesses in Norfolk to cut operating costs while lowering their emissions; and the implementation of a river freight scheme in Westminster which will serve as a greener alternative to the use of more polluting vehicles in the city.

The Environmental Improvement Plan – published in early February – set out interim targets for the reduction of concentrations of, and efforts to reduce public exposure to, PM2.5 by the end of January 2028, alongside a range of policies to work towards these targets.

The government said the plan also committed to challenging councils to improve air quality more quickly by assessing their performance and use of existing powers, while supporting them with clear guidance, funding and tools. Moreover, it pledged to improve the way air quality information is communicated with the public. Today’s announcement demonstrates key steps forward in the delivery of these commitments.

This latest grant funding means that around £53 million has been awarded across almost 500 projects through the Air Quality Grant scheme since 2010, said a government statement.