Defra’s £7 Million Air Quality Grant Now Open

A street in London

September 5, 2022

Defra has announced the launch of their £7 million Air Quality Grant, created for local authorities across England to help improve air quality in their areas. Local authorities have until Friday 23 September to bid for a share of the grant to help fund their air quality projects for their community.

What is the Air Quality Grant?

The grant has been established to help local authorities to improve the air quality of their areas and to help meet their statutory duties under the Environment Act 1995 (and as amended by the Environment Act 2021).

Since the grant was established in 1997, the Air Quality Grant has awarded over £81 million in funding to projects across England ranging from digital education packages for children and parents to community websites and business engagement programs.

This year’s Air Quality Grant will be covered within two ‘lots’ of funding:

  • Lot 1 – Projects which reduce air pollutants where nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exceeds limits*.
  • Lot 2- projects focused on reducing particulate matter as well as educational projects focused on improving public knowledge, information about air quality and how individuals can reduce their exposure to air pollution.

What local authorities can do

There are a number of ways in which local authorities can use this funding to help improve air quality across all communities in their area.

Sustainable Transport

Cargo bikes are becoming increasingly popular with individuals, families and in particular, businesses. They are an excellent option for transporting goods and services efficiently without polluting the air, are cost-effective and help improve fitness.

Over the past few years’ cargo bikes have grown in popularity, so much so that local councils across the UK are now implementing cargo bike projects for businesses in their areas. We’ve worked with Brighton & Hove City Council, Brent Council and we are currently working with Team London Bridge and Better Bankside helping businesses along the Low Line in SE1, SE16 and SE17 make their deliveries and collections greener.

School Workshops and Healthy Walking Maps

Interactive educational workshops and assemblies are an effective way of teaching the effects of air pollution as well as how to reduce our own impact on the environment. By including additional activities such as designing posters, children are able to learn, have fun and share what they’ve learnt.

Healthy walking maps are a fun and useful way to encourage school children and parents to walk, cycle or even scoot to school using less polluted and safer routes. These not only help reduce the number of cars at school drop-off and pick-up times, but help encourage people to be more active and improve their physical health at the same time.

Since 2021, we’ve delivered our own Breathe Clean school workshops to hundreds of schools across London, and recently partnered with Idling Action London to deliver workshops teaching children about pollution from idling cars. This year alone, we’ve delivered 169 workshops to over 7,500 children in London.

Air Quality Monitoring

Air quality monitoring held onsite and around school properties not only helps show the quality of air, but can help understand the key sources of pollution and how to improve the environment. By conducting this over an extended period of time, schools can see their progress, take action when levels rise and ensure that their pupils, staff and those in the area can enjoy a cleaner environment.

From January 2022 to August 2022, MP Smarter Travel consultants installed 2,500 diffusion tubes across 96 London Schools.

Apply for funding

With only a couple of weeks until the 23 September deadline, local authorities will need to get their applications in sooner rather than later.

If you’re looking to apply for funding but concerned that you may struggle with meeting the deadline date, contact Head of Consulting, Oli Ivens, to discuss how we can help you complete your application.

Our team of experienced consultants have worked with local authorities across London and the south east to implement various bespoke projects designed to improve our environment. To discuss how we can help you implement a project in relation to the Air Quality Grant, contact Oli Ivens, or call 0207 960 2553.