Local authorities across England have been granted more than £11 million in government funding to deliver projects to improve air quality.
The money, from the Government’s Air Quality Grant, helps councils develop and implement measures to benefit schools, businesses and communities and reduce the impact of dirty air on people’s health. More than double the funding awarded in 2021 has been made available for this year’s grant, meaning a raft of innovative projects to deliver air quality improvements are being supported.
This includes over £1m of funding for projects that will deliver measures to improve public awareness in local communities about the risks of air pollution, following a recommendation in the Coroner’s Prevention of Future Deaths report after the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah in 2013.
Jo Churchill, Agri-innovation and Climate Adaptation Minister, said: “Air pollution is the single biggest environmental risk to public health. It has reduced significantly since 2010, but we know there is more to do, which is why we have doubled the amount of funding awarded this year to help local authorities take vital action.”
The projects supported by this latest round of funding include innovative local schemes to boost the use of green transport, increase monitoring of fine particulate matter – the most harmful pollutant to human health – and improve awareness of the risks of poor air quality around schools and in care homes.
Proposals which have won funding include projects and campaigns to:
- Encourage the uptake of green transport including e-bikes through improved cycling and scooter infrastructure and retrofit projects;
- Promote efficient driving practices that will reduce pollution, such as turning your engine off rather than idling;
- Enhance educational programmes for schoolchildren
- Introduce air quality measures in and around care homes.
The announcement means more than £42 million has been awarded through the Air Quality Grant since 2010 across almost 500 projects.
Together, these projects have contributed to the significant improvement in air quality seen in the UK in recent decades. Since 2010, emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 18%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 44% and sulphur dioxide by 70%.
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