Local authorities in England have until the end of the week to bid for funding for projects to address poor air quality in their areas.
A total pot of £3 million is available through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ air quality grant programme – with a final deadline for bids of midday on Friday (30 November).
As well as offering funding to develop measures to improve local air quality, funding is also being offered to projects aimed at encouraging ‘innovation through trialling low-cost sensors’.
Areas where exceedances of the EU air quality limits have been recorded are likely to be a particular focus of the scheme, Defra has said.
English local authorities that have one or more Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) are eligible for support, with funding for 2018/19 expected to be delivered from March 2019.
A total of £2.4 million was awarded to 16 projects through the grant scheme in 2017/18 – ranging from awards of around £33,000 to up to £450,000.
Among those to receive funding was Portsmouth city council – with the money to be spent on an air quality communications package and cycling infrastructure, Spelthorne borough council – on behalf of Surrey authorities – to deliver an awareness campaign in schools across the county, and Westminster city council for work with businesses on emissions reduction.
Air quality grants worth over £57 million have been awarded through the scheme since its inception in 1997.
Additional funding worth up to £255 million is being delivered to support local authorities impacted by the government’s NO2 plan to bring down emissions of nitrogen dioxide in line with legal limits.
Of this around £11.7 million has been awarded to the 28 ‘second wave’ local authorities to carry out the work to develop air quality plans, as well as an additional £1.65 million to support the 33 ‘third wave’ local authorities required to conduct targeted feasibility studies to identify measures that could bring forward compliance dates within the shortest possible time.
Defra Air Quality Grant 2018-19