Rebecca Pow
"Local authorities are in the best position to address the issues," said environment minister Rebecca Pow

Air quality scheme opens for councils

Neil Tague

Local authorities have been invited to bid for a share of £2m, which is available for projects helping to improve air quality and create cleaner and healthier environments.

This represents the latest round of funding for the Government’s Air Quality Grant scheme which to date has awarded around £64.5m to a variety of projects benefitting schools, businesses and communities.

According to the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, these projects have contributed to the significant improvement in air quality seen in the UK in recent decades. Levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – particles or liquid droplets in the air which present the greatest risk to public health – have reduced by 9% since 2010, and levels of nitrogen dioxide from vehicles are now at their lowest levels since records began, Defra claimed.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “Air pollution, and in particular PM2.5, carries enormous risks to human health which is why we are continuing to provide funding to local authorities to help them take action.

“We know that local authorities are in the best position to address the issues they face in their areas and we look forward to receiving ideas for ways to reduce emissions and promote cleaner, greener alternatives.”

The grant application process is competitive, with projects to tackle PM2.5 particularly welcomed by Defra. The best projects will also develop long-term solutions to increase awareness and encourage behaviour change.

Applicants in previous years have been awarded funding to test indoor air quality and the effectiveness of filter systems in schools, develop clean air village projects joining up several London boroughs, and raise awareness around domestic burning and the dangers of using harmful fuels such as coal and wet wood.

Applications for the grant opened yesterday, and close at 12pm on 14 October 2020. Councils are invited to apply via the Bravo platform.

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