UK Local Councils Get £10.7 Million to Improve Air Quality

Improving air quality is one of the ongoing campaigns of authorities throughout England. The fight against air pollution is a primary concern, due mostly to the rising cases of health issues caused by exposure to toxic air. 

Earlier this month, local councils across the United Kingdom received £10.7 million in funding that they can use for projects aimed at improving air quality. The grant is intended to help the councils produce programmes and actions focused on reducing the impacts of air pollution on human health and the environment. Taken from the Air Quality Grant that the government prepares annually, the financial support is also expected to help schools, communities, and businesses that are easily affected by poor air quality. 

The £10.7 million grant will be used for specific programmes and projects such as: 

  • The district of Blaby’s electric road sweeper
  • Air quality education for nurses, doctors, and social workers
  • Lewisham, south London’s monitoring sensors for reliable real-time information on air quality
  • Converting a diesel-powered refuse collection car into an electric vehicle

Tyneside, located in northern England, will also benefit from the grant. The funding will be used for a long-term education campaign on air pollution’s dangerous impacts focused on pollution hotspots and schools located in or near residential areas.

In Cornwall, the grant will allow officials to employ an Air Quality Officer who will be tasked to regularly visit and observe air quality in schools.

Westminster residents will benefit as well as the funding can aid in the creation of an environmentally friendly river freight scheme that residents can use for commuting instead of their high-polluting vehicles. 

The historic eastern England county of Norfolk, on the other hand, will use the money for their e-cargo bike library. This initiative will allow businesses to enjoy lesser operating costs while also reducing the amount of toxic emissions. 

Rebecca Pow, the UK’s Environment Minister, believes that the funding is an important development in the quest for better air quality and protecting human health from dangerous emissions. Across England, councils will be able to move forward with their innovative and inspiring programmes and projects, specifically in terms of public awareness and education, using green transport, and efficient pollutant monitoring. 

The environment act and environmental improvement plan

Like other governments in Europe, the UK government is committed to reducing air pollution levels by implementing targets. The Environment Act is focused on lowering PM2.5 or fine particulate matter levels by the year 2040. 

The Environmental Improvement Plan, on the other hand, is committed to reducing exposure to PM2.5 by month’s end in January 2028.

Since 2010, the Air Quality Grant scheme has funded approximately 500 projects. Funding for other projects has also been awarded or is ongoing, including more than £2 billion for the transition to zero-emission vehicles. 

The dangers of vehicle emissions

The gas that diesel vehicles emit is known as nitrogen oxide or NOx. With nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) as primary components, NOx has negative and life-threatening impacts on the environment, vegetation, and human health. 

NOx produces acid rain and smog, which taint the air. Acid rain and smog also make it difficult for anyone to breathe, and they can trigger asthma and other respiratory diseases, as well as allergies.

Nitrogen oxide also contributes to the formation of known as ground-level ozone, a pollutant that can weaken and damage crops and other forms of vegetation. 

If you suffer from mental health conditions, once you’re exposed to NOx emissions, you might get more frequent episodes of anxiety or depression. This applies even to those who haven’t had mental health breakdowns.

NOx emissions may also affect your cognitive health, which means your risk of developing dementia is higher.

Health conditions due to exposure to NOx emissions include:

  • Asthma
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pulmonary oedema (lungs are filled with fluid)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema
  • Asphyxiation
  • Chronic lung function reduction
  • Vocal cords spasm, also known as laryngospasm
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Premature death

NOx emissions have been in the spotlight for years because of the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal that involved the Volkswagen Group and, later on, other popular carmakers. It allegedly involved the use of defeat devices in Audi and VW diesel vehicles that needed to pass emissions compliance testing. The device can sense when a vehicle is in testing and once this happens, it reduces emissions levels artificially to within the limits the World Health Organization (WHO) set.

Although the vehicle appeared clean and safe, when driven on real roads, it releases excessive amounts of NOx. VW lied to their customers, endangered them, and significantly added to air pollution.

Authorities emphasised the need to hold carmakers responsible for their unlawful act. Affected drivers can help stop the use of illegal defeat devices and improve air quality by filing a diesel claim.

My car may be affected, how should I start my diesel claim?

You can find out if your vehicle is affected and if you are eligible to file a diesel claim by visiting They’ll help confirm your eligibility and determine your next step. To proceed with your emission claim, find an emissions expert that can help you through the process.

You can choose to file the claim on your own or join a GLO or group litigation order.

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