DfT announces more than £5 million in funding to tackle air quality
The UK Government has announced funding to help local authorities tackle bad air quality throughout the UK, as well as opening a competition to find the country’s best electric vehicle innovations.
Local authorities across England have been granted more than £5 million in Government funding to deliver innovative projects to improve air quality.
The money, from the Government’s Air Quality Grant, helps councils develop and implement measures to benefit schools, businesses and communities and reduce the impact of dirty air on people’s health. The UK Government says more than double the funding awarded in 2020 has been made available for this year’s grant, meaning a raft of particularly strong applications are being supported.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the application process especially welcomed projects to tackle fine particulate matter (PM2.5) which is known to be the pollutant of greatest harm to human health. Plans to increase awareness and encourage long-term behaviour change were also successful.
“Air pollution has improved significantly since 2010 but remains the greatest environmental risk to human health,” said Environment Minister Rebecca Pow.
“This funding demonstrates our commitment to improving our air and also our openness to innovation, through pioneering initiatives such as campaigns to encourage greater use of electric bikes and education programmes teaching children about the harms of fine particulate matter.”
“From promoting anti-idling to increasing the uptake of electric taxis, the Air Quality Grant will help to clean up our air as we look to build back greener and lower our carbon footprint. The funding announced today will take us one step closer to meeting our climate change obligations, improving air quality and supporting economic growth right across the country,” added Rachel Maclean.
In addition, the UK Government is launching a research and development competition, open to some of the most promising electric vehicle technology innovations. This could include zero emission emergency vehicles, charging technology or EV battery recycling.
The DfT says the investment will help ensure the UK remains a world leader in EV design and manufacture, which could create around 6,000 skilled jobs over the next decade.
“Investing in innovation is crucial in decarbonising transport, which is why I’m delighted to see creative zero-emission projects across the UK come to life,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
“The funding announced today will help harness some of the brightest talent in the UK tech industry, encouraging businesses to become global leaders in EV innovation, creating jobs and accelerating us towards our net-zero ambitions.”
Among the previous winners is a zero-emission ambulance prototype for London Ambulance Service. Designed by ULEMCo, the ambulance can reach speeds of 90 mph and travel an average of 200 miles a day with zero emissions.
Another successful bidder was tech start-up Urban Foresight, which was given £3 million to develop pop-up chargers that rise up out of the pavement to provide a discreet, safe and low-cost EV charging solution to those without off-street parking.