The Government has today announced the latest round of funding to help local authorities improve air quality across England.
The Air Quality Grant scheme has awarded more than £61m to a variety of projects aimed at reducing pollution and benefitting schools, businesses and residents.
Local authorities are today being encouraged to bid for a portion of a £2m fund to help them install electric vehicle charging points, improve cycling infrastructure and develop local online air quality resources.
‘We know the impact air pollution has on public health, which is why we are continuing to provide funding to local authorities to help them to take action to improve air quality for the benefit of schools, businesses and residents. This is part of the much wider strategy to tackle air quality,’ said the environment minister Rebecca Pow.
‘Local authorities are in the best position to address the issues they face around their roads, and we are looking forward to receiving ideas for innovative schemes to reduce emissions and encourage cleaner, more active transport.’
The minister for the future of transport George Freeman commented: ‘We know we need to step up the pace and clean up our air for everyone – from children on their way to school, to commuters travelling to work, and communities around the country.
‘This vital funding will help councils to take forward exciting new technologies, improving air quality and making our communities cleaner, more vibrant places to live.’
The Local Government Association (LGA) warned yesterday that national climate change targets are ‘unlikely to be met’ unless local authorities are given long-term funding and more powers.
Cllr David Renard, environment spokesman for the LGA, said: ‘Councils are already doing significant work to protect the environment, to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and to address issues that affect the environment and the health of our communities.’
‘This includes tackling harmful air pollution by devising clean air zones and protecting at-risk areas outside schools, encouraging the use of electric vehicles through promoting recharging points, and investing in cycling.
‘However, national climate change targets are unlikely to be met unless councils are given long-term funding, devolved powers and easier access to complex government funding pots.’