Air Quality Grant Cut in Half by DEFRA
The amount of money made available to local authorities in England to deal with air quality is to be reduced to £500,000 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has confirmed. The cut sees the amount of grant reduced from £1 million last year and £3 million in 2011/12.
The programme has issued £52 million since it began in 1997, almost 20% of that has been spent in the past five years. Last year, the government were taken to the Supreme Court by environmental group Climate Earth, who claimed that they had failed to fulfill their obligations under the EU air quality directive.
Reacting to the latest budget cut, Client Earth’s Alan Andrews said; “Why, when ordered by a court to take immediate action, have they halved the money for local authorities? It was already a desultory amount of money, even before the cuts, given the cost of the health impacts. It really neatly encapsulates everything that is wrong with the government approach to air pollution.”
Much of the new grant will be spent on feasibility studies to look at establishing clean air zones in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton by 2020. Other projects will include supporting electric car charging points and supporting walking and cycling.
In 2014, a study by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, estimated that exposure to air pollution causes 28,869 deaths a year and 306,835 lost life years.
You can find full details of DEFRA’s Air Quality Grant Programme HERE.