UK Government launches £260m package to tackle air pollution

An initial £40 million is being provided for councils to take action “as soon as possible”, including conducting targeted feasibility studies

By Priyanka Shrestha

The UK Government has launched a package of funding totalling more than £260 million to tackle air pollution.

It is part of the government’s commitment to support local authorities to deliver plans to improve air quality, with an initial £40 million being provided for councils to take action “as soon as possible”.

That includes £11.7 million for the 28 local authorities with the biggest pollution challenges and £24.5 million to the same local areas for projects including installing electric vehicle (EV) charging points in car parks, incentivising ultra-low emission taxis and traffic management systems.

Local community projects can share a £2.4 million grant to tackle pollution at the grass roots level and £1.65 million will support the 33 local authorities that have been asked to conduct targeted feasibility studies to identify measures to bring forward compliance dates within the shortest possible time.

Councils will be able to bid for the rest of the funding – £220 million, initially announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the last Budget Statement – to tackle roadside emissions, with funding available over the period between 2018/19 and 2020/21.

Projects they could consider include new park and ride services, freight consolidation centres, concessionary travel schemes and improvements to bus fleets.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “We have been clear that local leaders are best placed to develop innovative plans that rapidly meet the needs of their communities. Today’s funding demonstrates the government’s commitment to support the local momentum needed and continue to improve our air now and for future generations.

“Improving air quality is about more than just tackling emissions from transport, so later this year we will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy. This will set out how we will address all forms of air pollution, delivering cleaner air for the whole country.”