Staffordshire county and Stoke-on-Trent city councils have been handed £200,000 for projects to improve air quality in the area, following the receipt of funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The two authorities were the recipients of a total of £208,000 in funding from the government’s £220 million Clean Air Fund, launched last month, set up to contribute to projects aimed at improving air quality.
Stoke-on-Trent was among the 33 local authorities ordered to carry out a feasibility study to identify if there are any measures that could speed up compliance with NO2 limits, as a result of the latest ClientEarth High Court early this year (see airqualitynews.com story).
The whole of the city of Stoke-on-Trent has been designated an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – with the government having projected that exceedences of the 40 ug/m3 legal threshold will persist until at least 2020.
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have yet to identify the exact initiatives that will be financed through the Defra grant, but said that “campaigns to highlight the benefits of clean air, tackling anti-idling in vehicles and encouraging people to consider greener and active modes of travel are amongst the ideas being put forwardâ€?.
Alan White, deputy leader and cabinet member for health, care and wellbeing at Staffordshire county council, said: “We know that air pollution, especially from vehicles on some of our most congested main roads can cause many health issues and it’s important we do what we can to improve air quality for everyone.
“This funding is very welcome and will not only allow us to run some practical campaigns with local communities, schools and businesses but will also allow us to explore other longer-term solutions to the issue. We’ll also be bringing together expertise from our own public health teams and highways department and will be working closely with district and borough councils.â€?
Councillor Randy Conteh, Stoke-on-Trent city council cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “This funding will mean we can look at new ways of improving air quality in some of the most affected locations in the city such as outside schools and on key routes such as the A53 in Etruria. We’ll be working very closely with our neighbouring authorities on ways to bring about improvements.â€?