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£240k boost for air quality monitoring in county

Real-time public alerts on local air quality incidents are just one of the new air quality monitoring services set for areas in Worcestershire, after a bid for government funding was successful.

The bid for over £240,000, made to the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) by all six Worcestershire district councils in the autumn, was revealed as successful last week (Feb 9).

It means the money will now be available to pay to install upgraded continuous air quality monitors at various locations in the county. The monitors will enable real-time public health alerts and information about poor air quality episodes to be issued, to help more people understand how to reduce pollution and exposure to pollution.

The monitors will also produce significantly better data that will help local authorities drive improved air quality policies to help mitigate the sources of pollution.

Bromsgrove District, Redditch Borough, Malvern Hills District, Worcester City, Wychavon District, and Wyre Forest District councils joined forces for the bid using their shared service for the delivery of environmental health and licensing services, Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS).

Councillor Tony Rowley from Wychavon District Council, who currently chairs the Worcestershire Regulatory Services Board, said: “The team worked very hard to put this bid together and the Board and partners are very pleased with the outcome. We will now be looking for the best locations in the county where changing people’s behaviour could have a quick impact on the pollution levels in the short term.

“This will significantly upgrade our services’ current capability, which in most areas is only routine long-term nitrogen dioxide monitoring. The enhanced monitoring will not only add particulate matter, another pollutant created by road vehicles alongside nitrogen dioxide, but also allow real-time alerts and targeted campaigns.”

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