Local authorities across England can bid for a portion of at least £2m for a range of projects to improve air quality by reducing levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and levels of nitrogen dioxide from vehicles.
The grant application process is competitive, with projects to tackle PM2.5 particularly welcomed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The best projects will be those that seek to develop long-term solutions to increase awareness and encourage behaviour change.
Since it was established, the Air Quality Grant scheme has awarded around £64.5m to projects that benefit schools, businesses and communities.
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. This is part of delivering on the ambition in our world-leading Clean Air Strategy to halve the harm to human health from air pollution by 2030.
“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.”
Transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “From schools, to local businesses and households, it’s vital that we support a diverse range of projects to create cleaner, greener places
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 open from 2 September and close at midday on 14 October 2020.
The fund will contribute towards meeting the objectives of Defra’s 2019 Clean Air Strategy, the most ambitious air quality strategy in a generation, which has been praised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “an example for the rest of the world to follow”.
It also complements the wider UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations, which includes a £3.5bn investment into air quality and cleaner transport. The plan is supporting the uptake of low emissions vehicles, getting more people to cycle and walk, and encouraging cleaner public transport.
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