Funding to boost air quality welcomed by council leaders

Boat on beachCOUNCIL leaders in Sussex have welcomed funding that will support cleaner buses, taxis and improve air quality across the county.

Sussex-Air, a partnership of local authorities across Sussex, has been awarded £876,300 from the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) for local projects.

The first includes upgrading the exhausts of around 40 double-decker buses serving Brighton & Hove and parts of East and West Sussex to reduce the emissions they produce.

The second project aims to raise public awareness of the impact of air pollution and alongside an upgraded monitoring network, Sussex-air partners will relay the science and health impacts of poor air quality to our local communities. The Sussex network of air quality analysers will be supplemented with additional particulate (PM) monitors and a network of sensors.

The funding will also cover work with taxi operators in West Sussex to facilitate a transition to electric vehicles.

Cllr Claire Dowling, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for transport and environment, said: “We want to make it easier for people to use public transport to travel around our county and this funding will make sure the emissions generated by some of those journeys will be as low as possible.

“Air pollution has a huge impact on the environment as well as the health of our residents. The projects made possible by this funding will make a significant difference to air quality across East Sussex and is another positive step towards lowering emissions.”

Cllr Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change said: “We are pleased to see this extra funding for projects to improve air quality which will also benefit West Sussex.”

“The issue of air quality cannot be tackled by Councils alone, so it is important to be working in partnership, including with bus and taxi operators, to address this issue by lowering transport emissions and raising awareness.”

A proportion of the most frequently used buses are “mid-life” and were not designed and built to the most recent emissions standards. The retrofit will allow them to continue to operate with lower emissions.

Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company Ed Wills said: “We take our role of providing bus services to the community seriously.”

“Retrofitting older buses that operate in and around Brighton & Hove to super low emissions helps improve air quality for everyone today as we head towards our target.”