£6 million Air Quality Funds Now Open to Bids from London Boroughs

£6 million Air Quality Funds Now Open to Bids from London Boroughs

A £6 million fund is now open for bids from London boroughs, to help them tackle air pollution. This is the third and final round of the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund (MAQF). The MAQF amounts to a £20 million fund, over 10 years, forming part of the Transport for London’s Business plan. The fund is in place to support London boroughs with projects to improve air quality in local pollution hot spots. This round of bids will provide £6 million over three years, starting in April 2019. The deadline for applications is 11th January 2019.

Sadiq Khan’s commitment to improving air quality

Calling for bids, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, stated, “Our filthy toxic air is a national health crisis, contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths in the UK every year.”

He went on, “The bold action we’ve already delivered such as establishing Low Emission Bus Zones, cleaning up the bus and taxi fleets and delivering the T-Charge in central London, are starting to have a positive impact. Today’s funding will help boroughs to deliver targeted action to complement these strong measures and improve their local areas for the benefit of all Londoners.”

Image of the exhaust pipe of a car chugging out CO2


What is the background to Mayor’s Air Quality Fund?

The government’s Air Quality Plan requires London to be legally compliant with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limits by 2025. The implementation of the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund reaffirms Sadiq Khan’s commitment to achieve this goal. The Mayor is, however, aiming to reach legal limits prior to the deadline. Tough measures will reduce London’s air pollution and make London’s air safer to breathe.

It is envisaged that this third and final round of funding will allow London’s councils to complement the Mayor’s ambitious programme. The ultimate outcome is to protect the health and wellbeing of all in the Capital by targeting air pollution hot spots.

Who is eligible to apply for the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund?

Only London boroughs are invited to apply for a share of this funding. Other organisations and businesses are not eligible. However, boroughs are encouraged to work with local businesses when putting together their applications and this may be an opportunity for developers to aid with the process.

What type of projects are applicable for this funding?

 The MAQF is specifically focused on delivering air quality projects in London’s worst polluted areas.  Applications are welcomed for the following schemes:

  • Low Emission Neighbourhoods (LENs) - up to 4 new LENs will receive up to £500,000 each
  • The creation of car-free streets, pedestrianised areas and road closure schemes, in association with local communities
  • Anti-idling, including street enforcement against engine idling offenders
  • The promotion of electric vehicle use and roll-out of electric car charging points
  • Supporting the switch to low-emission vehicles and assisting businesses to reduce emissions
  • Roll out of green delivery services
  • Cutting emissions from construction machinery through inspection of construction sites to ensure only approved, lower-pollution construction machinery is being used
  • Applications for exceptional projects that fall outside these categories will be taken into consideration

It will be of interest to developers that Mayer Brown can help them aid London boroughs in the implementation of these schemes. Where proposals are located within areas of poor air quality, the Councils will require a mitigations package to ensure air quality neutrality or, ideally, for the development to be air quality positive. With the in-house knowledge at hand, Mayer Brown consultants can construct mitigation packages to encompass the aims of Sadiq Khan and help the London boroughs unlock the funding available, contributing to the  improvement of air quality across the capital.  

Previous projects supported by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund

Projects across 29 London boroughs have already been supported by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund. These have included the funding of 5 borough-led, and 6 business-led Low Emission Neighbourhoods (LENs).

The borough-led LENs encompass a number of the most highly polluted areas of the City. Each receiving £1 million, these projects are to be delivered by April 2019, by City of London; Greenwich Council; Westminster Council; Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets Councils; and, cross borough neighbourhoods in Redbridge & Newham. The 6 smaller Business LENs are being delivered by the Mayor and business groups.

Other projects that have benefited from the fund have ranged from the fitting of low-cost electric car charging points on lampposts throughout Hounslow, through to Hackney Council moving to an electric vehicle fleet.

Notably, Sadiq Khan chose Waltham Forest to announce the launch of the new round of funding. Here he visited business owners who have established a green courier service. The delivery service uses cargo bikes and electric vehicles; the project supported by a City Hall Air Quality Fund grant of £400,000. Since 2015, this borough has also delivered: 22km of segregated cycle lanes, 660 new trees, 37 roads closed to through traffic and 15 new pocket parks.

For more information about the MAQF funding, please read the bidding guidance.

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