Air Pollution: Children

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th November 2018.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect children from the effect of toxic air on their health in (a) Oxford West and Abingdon constituency and (b) England.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions affecting schools, businesses and residents. 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.

Through the 2017-18 Air Quality Grant, we provided Oxford City Council with £192,500 to provide Electric vehicle charging points, and electric fleet. In 2017, Oxford City Council were provided with £370,000 of funding from the Department for Transport for charge points for taxis.

Defra awarded a total of £2.4million to local authorities in England from the 2017/18 air quality grant fund; £3.7million was awarded in 2016/17, and £0.5million in 2015/6. £3million has been allocated for 2018/19. Whilst all measures which reduce air pollution will reduce children’s exposure to these harmful pollutants, some projects have elements that are specifically targeted at children. For example:

  • In 2016-17, the London Borough of Islington were awarded £50,000 to run a local school focused awareness and engagement campaign through the air quality grant.

  • In 2017/18, Spelthorne Borough Council were given £145,188 to run an awareness campaign in schools across Surrey.

    Details of further funding from the Air Quality Grant Programme, including funding specifically directed at children can be found on the Air Quality Grant Programme webpage here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/air-quality-grant-programme.

    The Government has also put in place a £3.5billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions, which includes £495million for councils to improve air quality. 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.

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