Defra is to give extra support to local councils in England to help improve air quality, after the Government’s initial fund was heavily oversubscribed. Charlotte Reid has the details.
The extra support fund was brought in because the original fund offered by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was heavily oversubscribed. This meant some projects had to cut back, whilst others could not be funded at all.
The initial fund that proved so popular was announced in October by the environment minister, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, stating that 51 counties across England would receive £2m for projects to help reduce levels of air pollution.
Lord Taylor announced the extra funding in a speech at the Environment Protection Conference in London.
Lord Taylor said, “Although the quality of air that we breathe has improved considerably, reducing air pollution is still one of our greatest challenges.
“That is why I am pleased to announce today that we are providing just over £1m of further funding to support these projects and to improve our local framework for delivering air quality improvements.
“Local authorities continue to play their part in improving air quality and this extra Government support builds on the £2m of Air Quality Grants for research and interventions to support air quality improvements that I announced in October.”
Blue & Green Tomorrow recently revealed how the UK was failing to meet its European air pollution targets. The study, by the Environmental Audit Committee, revealed that nearly 200,000 people’s lives are being shortened by an average of two years because of air pollution.
The European Environment Agency also showed that the environmental damage from industrial pollution costs billions.
Councils that are successful at getting the funding will have to give Defra a progress report by September 2012.
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