St Dunstan’s Street lies in an area that suffers from pollution

City council vows to tackle air quality issues in Canterbury

The city council has received a government grant for air quality improvement projects across Canterbury.

There have been concerns for decades that the city suffers from unacceptably high levels of pollution due to busy roads and congestion.

The authority announced the £33,354 grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the same day that its planning committee approved a £9.1 million multi-storey car park in Station Road West.

Opponents of the scheme fear that the structure will encourage more traffic to the area.

Council leader Simon Cook said: “It is recognised the air quality in some areas of the district needs improvement.

Cllr Simon Cook: air quality needs improving

“Officers have been working hard in the background with independent experts and local people with a deep interest in the subject to pull together an air quality action plan.

“Part of that work has been to explore what funding is available and we are pleased this application paid off and the government recognised the valuable work that is being undertaken.

“This money from the government will help us to work with others to start taking some small but practical steps to tackle some of the issues.

“While we will do all we can as an organisation to improve air quality, the whole district needs to come together to make a positive impact.”

Some of the money will be used for an awareness campaign at St John’s Primary School in St John’s Place and St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School in Military Road. Both schools are close to the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).

The cash will also be used to erect signs asking drivers to switch off their engines while waiting at the St Dunstan’s and St Stephen’s level crossings as part of a University of Kent research project on the psychology of signs.

Some of it will pay for portable air quality monitoring equipment and three super-fast electric charging points in a city centre car park, likely to be St Radigund’s.

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