Details of funding available to local authorities to assist in measures to improve air quality have been released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). In total £220 million of funding is available through the Clean Air Fund from 2018 to 2021.
Announced on Friday, Defra has confirmed that £1.65 million has been ring-fenced for use by the 33 local authorities ordered to carry out feasibility studies to identify if there are any measures that could speed up compliance with NO2 limits, as a result of the latest ClientEarth High Court case (see airqualitynews.com story).
Elsewhere, funding also includes £11.7 million to the 28 local authorities with the “biggest air quality challenges” – those named within the July 2017 air quality plan – to help carry out the work needed to develop air quality plans, including securing resource and expertise.
£24.5 million has also been set aside to the same 28 local areas to support a range of measures to take action locally.
Examples could include installing electric charge point hubs in car parks; junction improvements; bus priority measures; building cycle routes; incentivising ultra-low emission taxis through licensing schemes and leasing electric vehicles; and traffic management and monitoring systems, Defra has said.
A further £2.4 million from the 2017/18 Air Quality Grant will be released for local community projects to tackle air quality at a grass roots level.
This comes in addition to £3.7 million already awarded in last year’s Air Quality Grant, which included a project taken forward by Westminster city council to provide advice and toolkits for small and medium businesses to reduce transport emissions from deliveries associated with their operations.
Announcing the funding on Friday, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “We have been clear that local leaders are best placed to develop innovative plans that rapidly meet the needs of their communities. Today’s funding demonstrates the government’s commitment to support the local momentum needed and continue to improve our air now and for future generations.
“Improving air quality is about more than just tackling emissions from transport, so later this year we will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy. This will set out how we will address all forms of air pollution, delivering cleaner air for the whole country.”
Defra – Clean air fund details