We are committed to improving air quality (NO2) alongside the roads we manage. We will contribute to improving air quality arising from the use of our network and help protect our neighbours from the health consequences through our Air Quality Fund.
There are a number of challenges associated with improving air quality. Despite the tightening of emission standards, we still have a large number of older polluting vehicles on the network directly impacting the air quality on and around our network. As responsible neighbours, we need to reduce the associated pollution impact of our improvement and expansion schemes. In addition, it can often be difficult to identify and deliver better, large-scale air quality solutions and quantify their true benefits.
- With these challenges in mind, the fund is balancing investment in a variety of areas:
Mitigating, where appropriate, and designing-out air pollution from any new schemes we build
- Exploring new and innovative approaches to air quality through pilots and feasibility studies with the anticipation some of these can be effectively scaled across parts of the network
- Tackling vehicle emissions
- Monitoring of NO₂ and oxides of nitrogen (NOₓ) across the network to build a better understanding of this issue
- Supporting local authorities as they lead the delivery of Defra’s national air quality plan, including implementing (where required) Clean Air Zones
We welcome ideas and proposals from existing and prospective partners to help us solve air quality challenges and work with us as we implement solutions. So far, we have been collaborating with local authorities to shape how this Fund is used and to inform how we address this vitally important issue. We work with our partners to make progress on reducing the Strategic Road Network’s impact on air quality to support wider government initiatives. We are also applying measures that will help us work towards the zero breaches target set out in air quality regulations.
Through our fund, we are supporting the government’s commitment to nearly every car and van to be a zero-emission vehicle by 2050. By working with operators, 95% of our network will have a charging point every 20 miles for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs). The aim of this is to encourage more people to purchase ULEVs which, in turn, will reduce the pollution impact of our network.
The programme seeks to prioritise investment in things that can support the delivery of Road Period 1 schemes and those things that provide evaluation and investment in innovative solutions that offer the possibility of benefits in the longer term.
To be considered for funding under the Air Quality Fund, proposals must meet legislative and policy requirements as a minimum.