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Bristol receives 50,000 Defra air quality funding

Council will use money to research efficiency of freight and delivery in the city and to fund an electric air monitoring vehicle

Bristol city council has secured more than £50,000 funding towards initiatives to boost air quality from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The money includes a £30,000 grant to research the freight and delivery needs of traders and businesses in the Old City area, as well as £20,800 to fund a ‘flagship’ electric vehicle that will carry out air monitoring.

 Bristol map

Bristol is the 2015 European Green Capital and the city’s Mayor has promised to focus on improving air quality

According to the council, the freight and delivery research will see the council collecting data on the frequency of deliveries and current methods used. The information collected will then be used to provide an evidence base for future projects to “improve the efficiency of freight movement and deliveries into this part of the cityâ€?.

The Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson – who is also currently proposing that the council put aside a one-off £50,000 sum to fund air quality monitoring in the city (see airqualitynews.com story) – said he was “delightedâ€? with the Defra grants.

And, specifically commenting on the research grant, he said: “This research will help officers come up with a solution which meets the needs of traders and businesses and improves air quality through controlled, coordinated traffic movements.â€?

Furthermore, the council said future projects to improve the efficiency of freight movement could include the expansion of Bristol and Bath’s existing Freight Consolidation Centre in Avonmouth, which was set up in 2004 under the European Union’s CITITAS funding.

Bristol city council map of an AQMA in the centre of the city

Bristol city council map of the AQMA covering the centre of the city (click to enlarge)

The Centre accepts deliveries and then groups them onto a dedicated electric vehicle for distribution in the city centre, which the council says has reduced delivery vehicles into the centre of Bristol by 80%.

Bristol councillor Mark Bradshaw, Assistant Mayor for Place, said: “The Freight Consolidation Centre is a key asset for the city and expanding the number of businesses making use of it will help improve both air quality and congestion. Further incentives to encourage more commercial electric vehicles are also being developed.â€?

Electric monitoring vehicle

The ‘flagship’ electric vehicle being funded through the £20,800 grant from Defra will be used to carry out “a range of environmental monitoring dutiesâ€? around Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire.

According the Bristol city council, the vehicle will also be used at events throughout 2015 to raise awareness of health issues associated with poor air quality, including information on the measures people can take to reduce the impact and their exposure.

Mayor Ferguson added: “Poor air quality has a greater public health impact than road traffic accidents and passive smoking combined, not to mention the local cost of health impacts to Bristol is in the region of £83 million a year. Let’s use our year as European Green Capital as a catalyst for change in air quality for our city. We can all make a contribution to reducing emissions by switching to active forms of transport such as cycling and walking.â€?

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