Defra provides funds to Local Authorities via the air quality grant fund for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions affecting schools, businesses and residents. For example, in 2016/17, the London Borough of Islington were awarded £50,000 to run a local school focussed awareness and engagement campaign through the air quality grant, and in 2017/18, Spelthorne Borough Council were given £145,188 to run an awareness campaign in schools across Surrey.
Local Authorities have a duty to monitor and assess air quality and to take action to reduce pollution where these breach statutory limits, and are best placed to determine local priorities. Their local knowledge and interaction with the communities that they serve mean that they know the issues on the ground in detail and the solutions that are best suited to local circumstances.
Defra awarded a total of £2.4 million to local authorities from the 2017/18 air quality grant fund; £3.7 million was awarded to local authorities in 2016/17, and £0.5 million in 2015/6. £3 million has been allocated for 2018/19.
The Government has also put in place a £3.5 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions, which includes £255 million for councils to improve air quality and a dedicated Clean Air Fund of £220 million for those local areas with the biggest air quality challenges. We have consulted on our new world leading Clean Air Strategy, which includes new and ambitious goals, legislation, investment and policies which will help us to clean up our air faster and more effectively.