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DEFRA open applications for this year’s Air Quality Grant scheme

Local authorities across England can now apply for a share of £6 million of government funding to deliver projects to improve air quality. 

Defra’s air quality grant scheme provides funding to eligible local authorities to help them make air quality improvements. 

The application window is now open and closes on 29th September. Local authorities can apply for funding on Atamis here.

Since 2010, more than £53 million has been awarded across more than 500 projects through the scheme. 

Funding is prioritised towards projects which: tackle particulate matter; improve public awareness of the impacts of air pollution; and help local authorities to bring down levels of nitrogen oxide (NO2) and other pollutants to below legal limits.

In the last round of funding, West Midlands Combined Authority received nearly £1m for PM monitoring and an engagement programme to increase awareness and encourage behaviour change towards domestic burning across the region.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:  ‘The £1 million our region received through the Air Quality Fund will make a significant contribution to the work already underway to improve the quality of the air local people breathe.

‘For the first time ever, we’ll be able to install a West Midlands-wide network of sensors that will provide real-time, publicly accessible information on air quality directly from individual neighbourhoods. Thanks to this government funding, we’ll also take this data back into those communities to improve residents’ understanding of the sources and impact of air pollution on health and wellbeing.

‘Together, we can empower local people to support our efforts to ensure the air we all breathe is cleaner than ever.’

Other  projects supported by the grant last year was Blaby District Council’s conversion of diesel refuse collection vehicle to electric and their purchase of an electric road sweeper. 

Cornwall used their funding to employ a school air quality officer to provide an air quality awareness programme to over 3000 students.

Lancaster City Council wanted to encourage the take up of electric taxis through behaviour and awareness campaigns and a discounted leasing scheme. 

The London Borough of Havering encouraged active travel through guided cycle and walking routes for schools, which also aimed to reduce the children’s exposure to pollution when travelling to and from school. They also wanted to develop a travel plan for the local hospital to reduce NO2 emissions from staff and patient travel.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s funding round, Environment Minister Trudy Harrison said: ‘Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to human health and local authorities play a vital role in tackling it. 

‘This latest round of funding will support innovative projects across England that give communities the tools to limit their exposure and reduce pollution.

‘Together, this will build on the significant improvements in air quality delivered by the government at a national level and deliver cleaner air for all.’

 

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