East Herts Council bags grant to support cleaner air initiative

Councillor Graham McAndrew by air quality monitoring station
East Herts Council has been awarded a grant worth over £126,000 by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This will be used to fund a major new initiative to improve knowledge and information about air quality, raise awareness of air pollution as a health issue, and promote alternatives to car travel.

The council plans to achieve this through direct engagement with community groups, workplaces and schools designed to encourage walking, cycling and other forms of sustainable travel.  There will also be campaigns on social media to highlight steps which individuals can take to reduce air pollution and their exposure it.    

There will be particular focus on three areas of the district – Hockerill junction in Bishop’s Stortford, Gascoyne Way in Hertford and London Road in Sawbridgeworth – all of which have been declared Air Quality Management Areas by the council because of their nitrogen dioxide levels.  

This major project will build on the council’s ongoing efforts to improve air quality in the district.  These include signage in car parks to encourage people to turn off their car engine rather than idling, smarter traffic light phasing and events to promote Clean Air Day.

Councillor Graham McAndrew, Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability said: “Air pollution is the environmental factor with the biggest impact on health in the UK. Hertfordshire is no exception.  An increase in active forms of travel such as walking and cycling will both improve air quality and create wider health benefits for all.   

“Despite the gradual increase in low emission and electric vehicles on the roads, it is vital to encourage less frequent use of the car.  By encouraging long-term changes in travel behaviour, we will also reduce road danger, noise and congestion making East Herts a great place in which to live.”