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Air quality improvement projects in Suffolk and Essex receive funding

PUBLISHED: 14:25 03 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:25 03 April 2019

The corner of St Botholph's Street and St Botolph's Church Walk in Colchester town centre. The borough has been awarded money for an air quality improvement scheme Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

The corner of St Botholph's Street and St Botolph's Church Walk in Colchester town centre. The borough has been awarded money for an air quality improvement scheme Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Archant

Two projects in Suffolk and Essex aiming to improve air quality have been awarded a slice of a government funding pot worth more than £3million.

Therese Coffey will be hosting the meeting this week Picture: GREGG BROWNTherese Coffey will be hosting the meeting this week Picture: GREGG BROWN

The money, from the Government’s Air Quality Grant, supports schemes which help councils develop and implement measures to benefit local communities.

Colchester Borough Council has received nearly £250,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) towards its two-year project aimed at encouraging a change of behaviour in motorists driving through the borough’s air quality management areas.

Drivers will be encouraged to switch off their engines while stationary and the scheme’s campaign will also work with schools to inspire change in people’s travel behaviour.

West Suffolk Council has also been awarded just over £100,000 to move a pedestrian crossing in the village of Great Barton away from an air pollution hotspot outside the post office on the A143.

The authority, which formed on April 1 following a merger between St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils, will work with Great Barton Parish Council and Suffolk County Council to identify the options for the new location of the crossing – which will be subject to public consultation.

A West Suffolk Council spokesman said: “West Suffolk Council has been awarded £101,280 by Defra as part of their national air quality grant fund to move the pedestrian crossing in Great Barton away from a known air pollution hotspot to help reduce the levels of pollution in this sensitive location.

“This money will also help fund research into the understanding of air quality issues, which are often considered an urban problem, in more rural areas.

“West Suffolk Council is committed to working towards achieving compliance with national air quality standards and hope that this work, together with other local improvements, will enhance local air quality in the village so that national standards are no longer breached.”

More than £57m has been awarded through the Air Quality Grant since it was launched in 1997.

Thérèse Coffey, environment minister and MP for Suffolk Coastal, said: “While we know air pollution has reduced significantly in recent decades, it is still the top environmental risk to health in the UK.

“Local authorities are best placed to introduce systems that work best for their areas, which is why we are working closely with them to ensure they have the appropriate funding and support.”

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