BARROW Borough Council is to seek grant funding to help monitor air quality and raise awareness about how different home fuel choices can impact upon people's health.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) air quality grant scheme provides funding to local authorities to improve air quality. Since the scheme began in 1997, over £81 million in funding has been given to a variety of projects.
Following a meeting of Barrow Borough Council’s Executive Committee yesterday, the authority has submitted a bid for funding to help monitor and raise awareness of levels of particulate matter and how this can affect the health of individuals and the wider community.
Particulate matter contains microscopic droplets that once inhaled can cause serious health problems.
Barrow Borough Councillor Iain Mooney, Lead Member for Health and Well-Being, said: “The health of the people of Barrow and visitors to the area is of the utmost importance to the council.
“Securing this funding will help the council to monitor levels of particulate matter and also to raise awareness of how different fuel choices can impact upon air quality both inside people’s homes and across communities, allowing us to identify any particular areas of concern.
Barrow Borough Council has also submitted its statutory Air Quality Annual Status Report to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which contains monitoring data from 2021 and a summary of actions taken in that year to improve local air quality.
Air quality in the borough saw an improvement in 2020 which was considered to be partially due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Air quality returned to nearer normal levels in the year following.
A successful bid from Defra would allow the council to increase the monitoring of air pollution, and to run a campaign to improve people’s awareness about how different fuel choices can affect health. Increased monitoring will allow the Council to identify particular hot spots with low air quality.
Councillor Mooney added: “I’m pleased to see this bid submitted to Defra and hope it is successful in securing the funding required.”