Defra announces 44 UK air quality grant recipients

Almost £11m has been awarded to local authorities across England to help support efforts to improve air pollution. 

Successful candidates that applied for the latest tranche of the Government’s annual Air Quality Grant scheme were announced last week, and span the length and breadth of the country. 

Big Ben, London

Councils including Bedford Borough, Blaby District, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, York, Colchester, Cornwall, Exeter, Lincolnshire County, and Lancaster City have all had bids approved. In London, Camden, Enfield, Havering, Islington, Lewisham, Redbridge, and Hammersmith & Fulham are also on the list. 

Find out more about the grant system here. Find a full breakdown of all recipient councils here.

‘We have made great strides in tackling air pollution at a national level since 2010, but we must do more to improve air quality and protect public health,’ Environment Minster Rebecca Pow. ‘From Tyneside to Cornwall, this funding will support a range of inspiring and innovative projects across the country – stepping up our monitoring of harmful pollutants, educating the public and boosting the use of green transport.’

While the additional funding has been welcomed by authorities and activists alike – not least at a time when budgets are particularly stretched – it’s not all good news for UK air quality. We recently reported on a Princeton and Colorado State universities study that found a high likelihood that pollution levels in Britain had been underreported by up to five times.

Meanwhile, Downing Street’s Environmental Investment Plan, unveiled early-February, contained no new financial commitment to any green initiative and set the bar far lower than recommendations in terms of air quality targets and limits. This followed a report by the Government’s own ecological watchdog, the new Office for Environmental Protection, which condemned the lack of progress in Westminster having found that policymakers were failing on every environmental target. 

Image: James Newcombe



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