Funding 42 projects over the country, the grants have been awarded to those authorities who have demonstrated innovative plans to tackle air pollution in urban areas.

Currently the capital is protected from the most polluting vehicles with the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) which covers most of Greater London.

Vehicles that do not meet certain emissions standards are required to pay a daily charge and a year ago these standards were made more stringent.

This latest round of funding is aimed to spread the use of LEZs, and to help create guidance and tools for local authorities who want to decrease emissions.

Money has also been given to authorities who want to develop the way they communicate air quality messages to their local communities.

The air quality grant programme has been active for 15 years and so far over £50m in grants has been given to support local air quality actions across England.

Resource Minister Lord de Mauley said: “Air quality has improved significantly in recent years; however, we need to keep striving to improve the air we breathe.

“This £2m air quality grant will help local communities take matters into their own hands. Without this money, many innovative projects would never see the light of day.

“In previous years, similar grants have been used very creatively to address air pollution. This is exactly the type of action that should be encouraged and I’m looking forward to reviewing the success of the projects this time next year.”

The authorities of Birmingham and Bradford were among the highest beneficiaries receiving £150,000 for work on LEZs.

Conor McGlone

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