PORTSMOUTH will benefit from half a million pounds of government funding in a bid to combat air pollution.
Portsmouth City Council has been awarded the cash to tackle areas of high level nitrogen dioxide, a deadly gas mainly produced by diesel vehicles that is linked to lung problems, and encourage greener travel.
The money will be used to target five problem areas in the city, including Eastern Road, the A3 as it enters the city and areas near the naval base and university.
It will also fund a study to focus on pollution on Mile End Road and Alfred Road.
Specifically £450,000 has come from the government’s multi-million-pound clean air fund and a further £50,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Cllr Dave Ashmore, the city council’s environment boss, said: ‘Any money given to us is great. Air pollution is an issue that affects us all.
‘Most of the problems with air quality will come from congestion.
‘I know it is not easy for everyone to give up a car. But if we can encourage a few more people to use public transport or bikes then that is a success.
‘It’s money that we wouldn’t otherwise have to tackle such an important issue which I know is something a lot of people in Portsmouth are concerned about.’
Pam Turton, Portsmouth City Council’s assistant director for transport, agreed.
She said: ‘It is our aspiration that everyone in Portsmouth is able to enjoy a clean and safe environment, where air quality is not harmful to health.
‘This funding will make a huge difference to what we are able to deliver and achieve, bringing forward compliance with air quality targets.’
The boost comes ahead of national Clean Air Day on June 21 when the council will showcase ideas on cutting pollution. Active travel officers will tour the city on Pedal Portsmouth bikes giving advice, there will be cycle marking running and bike maintenance events to help keep cyclists on the road.
The council is also in talks with local transport providers to see how to encourage more people to swap their cars for public transport on the day.
Similarly, Fareham Borough Council was awarded £500,000 from the Joint Air Quality Unit in March to focus on pollution around the A27.