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Council projects receive share of 1m air quality fund

Local cycling, bus and electric vehicle projects among 24 recipients of Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme for 2014/15

Defra has today (December 16) revealed that 24 local authority projects in England will receive a share of a £1 million fund aimed at improving local air quality.

Defra minister Dan Rogerson said he looked forward to seeing how the projects would "deliver real benefits for communities"

Defra minister Dan Rogerson said he looked forward to seeing how the projects would “deliver real benefits for communities across England”

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the focus of the Air Quality Grant Programme for 2014/15 was on supporting projects to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels and to mitigate emissions from road transport.

The highest grant was £128,800 awarded to Westminster city council for the installation of electric vehicle charging points in car club bays.

Meanwhile, a project spearheaded by Cannock Chase council for a ‘green fleet recognition scheme’ for heavy goods vehicle (HGVs) across eight local authorities was the second largest recipient of grant money at £80,000.

Low emission zones

Bradford (£35,000), Slough borough council (£42,000), Bristol city council (£30,000) and Cheshire West & Cheshire council (£40,200) have all received money towards developing low emission strategies or low emission zones.

Plymouth city council was also awarded £21,000 to carry out a low emission zone (LEZ) feasibility study, as well as a separate £11,761 grant for a proposed school behaviour programme to ‘encourage anti-idling of vehicles and greener forms of transport for the school run’.

Elsewhere, the London borough of Islington has been awarded money to reduce pollution from mini cabs by creating an electric charging network, although the final grant amount is still to be confirmed.

Other examples of projects receiving funding include £50,000 to trial converting container stacking machines from diesel to natural gas in Southampton; £31,320 on subway improvements in Hertfordshire and £29,100 on cycle path upgrades in Watford.

Awareness

Defra said it hoped the grant would help reduce air pollution and “raise awareness of the ongoing work between the UK government, local authorities and the European Commission to further improve air quality”.

Environment Minister Dan Rogerson said: “Air quality has improved significantly in recent decades and local authorities play a vital role – funding these great projects across the country will allow them to continue this good work. I look forward to seeing how these projects will deliver real benefits for communities across England.”

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