Sandwell district air pollution project secures £50,000 funding

A FastStart: Innovation Grant has been awarded to the pilot project which will run for six months in the West Midlands borough.

A new Sandwell district air pollution project has received a £50,000 grant which will advance the ways in which datasets are used to understand the public health benefits of reducing air pollution levels. 

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has awarded funds to consultancy Enjoy the Air, which is working in partnership with Sandwell Council on the initiative, due to complete next spring. Priorities include exploring health impacts of data provision from air quality monitors, and developing educational toolkits to influence the behaviour of local residents. 

If successful, the pilot will act as a proof of concept and similar ideas will be rolled out to other councils in the UK, with the project taking* a direct lead from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) air pollution guidance, which now recommends local authorities consider a range of interventions which encourage movement to low or zero emission areas. 

‘Sandwell has had historically poor air quality, due to its industrial past. Currently emissions from industry, domestic sources and transport are our key concerns. Thanks to a variety of local measures to improve air quality along with national and international measures such as cleaner vehicle technology, we are improving air quality and residents’ health,’ said Paul Fisher, Director of Public Health at Sandwell Council. ‘By working on this new project, we can explore the potential of utilising existing information to promote individual behaviour change that will become an example to other boroughs around the country.’

‘Our work… will demonstrate that local authorities have a significant part to play in influencing behaviour. Breathing life into our plans with this funding is a massive step in informing the public in real time about the health impacts of their choices about transport and home fuels,’ added Kate Barnard, Co-Founder of Enjoy the Air. ‘Enjoy the Air was founded in 2020 to support local authorities in achieving air quality standards to improve financial and physical health. This is achieved by providing cities with the data and strategies required to meet the World Health Organisation’s air standards, as well as to fulfil the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.’

Learn about the impact of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone on air pollution in the West Midlands metropolis.





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