Air quality funding scheme open for council bids

Local authorities are being encouraged to bid for a share of up to £2 million in funding for projects to improve air quality through the latest rounding of funding for the government’s Air Quality Grant Programme.

The funding initiative, which is overseen by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), has been running since 1997, and has seen around £52 million diverted to projects to improve air quality in localities.

Defra’s headquarters in Whitehall, London

The 2017/18 grant scheme is open to English local authorities that have one or more Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs), which must have been declared on or before the 31 March 2017.

Councils wishing to apply for funding have until 2pm on 22 December to bid for the latest round of funding.

Projects to have received funding through the 2016/17 grant scheme – which offered around £3.7 million in funding to 18 local authority projects including nearly £500,000 to Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils to fund a clean air zone feasibility study and £250,000 to Derby city council to assist in retro-fitting the council’s HGV fleet.

Last week the government announced that councils will be eligible for a further round of funding to address air pollution – through a £220 million Clean Air Fund unveiled in the budget last week (see airqualitynews.com story). Details of the Fund have yet to be finalised.

This is in addition to the £255 million available to councils named within the government’s NO2 plan as part of an ‘implementation fund’ to address vehicle emissions.

Some funding is also available regionally to local authorities, in particular in London, with support of the Mayor of London.

Zero Emission Network

The latest project to have launched includes a grant scheme to support the uptake of electric scooters and bikes for delivery drivers in the boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington – with funding available through the City Fringe Zero Emissions Network.

A grant scheme has been launched to assist delivery drivers to switch to electric scooters in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington

The Scooter Switch grant will give riders and businesses £200 towards each electric scooter or e-bike, if they are replacing existing petrol scooters.

Commenting on the initative, Councillor Feryal Demirci, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, transport and parks at Hackney council, said: “Improving air quality is a priority for Hackney and we are working hard to make it as easy as possible for residents and businesses to make greener choices. The Council has increased the number of electric vehicle charging points across the borough and is rolling out an innovative scheme to adapt street lamps, which will give more residents easier access to low emissions charging locally.

“By taking advantage of the new Scooter Switch grant, Hackney businesses will not only be able to reduce pollution but they will also save money in the process.”

Related Links
Air Quality Grant Scheme