Southampton’s Labour led City Council will be awarded £892,000 as part of an annual funding pot to tackle air quality locally.
The Air Quality Grant programme has awarded more than £52 million to a variety of projects since it started in 1997 and helps local authorities tackle air quality in their areas to reduce the impact on people’s health and create cleaner and healthier environments.
This year’s Air Quality Grant programme will focus on supporting schemes set up to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels.
Projects include a £253,880 scheme in Southampton and Eastleigh to support the uptake of low emission taxis, and a £99,000 scheme to fund eco-safe driver training on the council’s vehicle fleet.
The city is already one of five – including Nottingham, Birmingham, Derby and Leeds – to be designated as a Clean Air Zone as part of the government’s national air quality plan. A further £539,120 from the grant fund will be awarded as part of a joint application with the other Clean Air Zone cities, and Greater Manchester, to help raise awareness of air quality.
The government is firmly committed to improving the UK’s air quality and cutting harmful emissions and its air quality plan will go out to consultation in the spring.
Labour’s Christopher Hammond, Southampton City Council’s cabinet member for transformation projects, said:
“We’ve made it our priority to reduce pollution levels and clean up the air that we’re all breathing. From eco driver training for all the council’s drivers, to supporting the delivery of ultra-low emission taxis, this grant will enable us to make lasting improvements to the quality of the air in the city.
We all contribute to the problem and we all need to play a part in a solution. People from in and around the city need to think about making changes to the way they travel and adopting low-impact, sustainable choices. This can be as simple as swapping one car journey a week to walking or cycling. This will help us to achieve positive and lasting change, which we will all benefit from.”
More than £2billion has already been committed since 2011 to increase the uptake of ultra-low emissions vehicles and support greener transport schemes and the government has set out how it will improve air quality through a new programme of Clean Air Zones. In last year’s Autumn Statement, a further £290m was allocated to support electric vehicles, low emission buses and taxis, and alternative fuels.