February 23rd 2017

Derby City Council will be awarded £279,750 as part of an annual funding pot to tackle air quality locally.

The Air Quality Grant programme has awarded more than £52 million to a variety of projects since it started in 1997 and helps local authorities tackle air quality in their areas to reduce the impact on people’s health and create cleaner and healthier environments.

This year’s Air Quality Grant programme will focus on supporting schemes set up to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels.

Projects include a £250,000 scheme to fund the retro-fitting of the Council’s HGV fleet with emissions reduction technology, and a further £29,750 to fund cleaner taxis research and engagement programme.

The city is already one of five – including Nottingham, Birmingham, Southampton and Leeds – to be designated as a Clean Air Zone as part of the government’s national air quality plan. A further £539,120 from the grant fund will be awarded as part of a joint application with the other Clean Air Zone cities, and Greater Manchester, to help raise awareness of air quality.

The government is firmly committed to improving the UK’s air quality and cutting harmful emissions and its air quality plan will go out to consultation in the spring.

Environment minister Therese Coffey said: “Tackling poor air quality is a priority for the government and we are working closely with Local Authorities so they can play a crucial role in this. I was delighted at the broad range of ideas submitted, from using the latest technology to promoting cleaner taxis and increasing the uptake of electric vehicles, and these projects will help to improve the quality of life for people who live and work in our towns and cities, both now and in the future.”

Transport minister John Hayes said: “We are determined to cut emissions and improve air quality for communities across the country; as a father of two, I would want no less for any family than I’d want for my own. These grants will help councils take significant practical steps to clean up the air and to improve communal wellbeing in their area.  This good work will sit alongside the government’s draft air quality plan which will be published in the spring.”

More than £2billion has already been committed since 2011 to increase the uptake of ultra-low emissions vehicles and support greener transport schemes and the government has set out how it will improve air quality through a new programme of Clean Air Zones. In last year’s Autumn Statement, a further £290m was allocated to support electric vehicles, low emission buses and taxis, and alternative fuels.

Derby City Council’s cabinet member for cohesion and Integration, Asaf Afzal said: “We’ve made it our priority to reduce pollution levels and clean up the air that we’re all breathing. From retro-fitting our own HGV fleet with emissions reduction technology, and carrying out a full research and engagement programme for cleaner taxis, this grant will enable us to make lasting improvements to the quality of the air in the city.

“We all contribute to the problem and we all need to play a part in a solution. People from in and around Derby need to think about making changes to the way they travel and adopting low-impact, sustainable choices. Simply swapping one car journey a week to walking or cycling, can help us to achieve positive and lasting change, which we will all benefit from.”