A PROJECT to improve air quality in Staffordshire by engaging with schools and businesses and promoting electric vehicle use has received a £300,000 government boost.
Staffordshire County Council has received the allocation from the national Air Quality Grant initiative, which aims to reduce the impact of dirty air on people’s health.
The county council will be working with Cannock Chase Council, East Staffordshire Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council on its Air Aware project.
It will involve initiatives such as setting up travel networks including ones around business parks, increasing confidence and awareness of electric vehicle use, monitoring air quality and raising awareness of all causes, consequences and solutions for air pollution.
This will complement work already taking place in Stafford borough and Newcastle borough to promote electric vehicle use and other clean air initiatives as part of the Department for Transport funded SIMULATE Live Labs programme.
Selected Air Quality Grant projects will tackle fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in communities, which is known to be the pollutant of greatest harm to human health. They will also aim to increase awareness and encourage long-term behaviour change.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, infrastructure and climate change Julia Jessel said:
“We are committed to improving air quality for our communities and tackling climate change. We can only do this by working together and so we’re pleased our district and borough colleagues will help to make this project a success. This funding is a huge boost and will be a great support in helping us to achieve our aims.
“Our team has been rewarded for a strong bid for our Air Aware project. This will really complement the work which we have been doing already to improve air quality through electric vehicle use and other initiatives in Staffordshire.”
In total £5million has been made available to English councils in this round. Staffordshire was allocated£296,828.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
“Air pollution has improved significantly since 2010 but remains the greatest environmental risk to human health. 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.
“We know local authorities are in the best position to address the issues they face in their areas. These projects demonstrate how they can deliver innovative solutions for their communities and we will continue to work with them closely to offer ongoing support.”
The Air Quality Grant forms part of the wider UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Concentrations, which includes a £3.5 billion investment into air quality and cleaner transport.