Air Quality Grant Programme for 2014/15 will focus on tackling nitrogen dioxide levels and traffic emissions as Defra faces EU court action
The government’s £1 million Air Quality Grant Programme will focus on council projects to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels and road transport emissions in 2014/15, Defra announced today (July 10).
Under the programme, local authorities in England that have exceeded limits for nitrogen dioxide in their area will have six weeks from July 21 to submit their bid for funding.
The funding announcement follows Defra’s publication of its latest air quality projections across 43 zones in the UK, revealing that the government now expects to meet EU limits in London, Birmingham and Leeds after 2030 – five years later than previously expected and 20 years after the original EU deadline (see airqualitynews.com story).
Since the Grant Programme began in 1997, it has awarded more than £52 million in funding to a variety of projects to help councils tackle air pollution.
Among the projects to receive grants last year were a £21,305 scheme to encourage cycling in Chichester, £18,950 to fund the introduction of 20mph zones in Cambridge and a £23,500 feasibility study for changing road layouts and HGV routes in North Hertfordshire.
Defra hopes the Grant Programme will help raise awareness of the ongoing work between the UK government, local authorities and the European Commission to further improve air quality.
Defra minister Dan Rogerson said: “Air quality has improved significantly in recent decades and local authorities play a vital role – this funding will allow them to continue their good work.
“Last year’s grant prompted a fantastic response and I look forward to seeing a similar variety of projects which will improve air quality for all of us.â€?
Defra has written to all eligible authorities to confirm they will be able to apply. Applications will need to be made via the Department’s Bravo system, for which applicants will need to register.