Major blow for £430,000 Norwich drive to cut city pollution after snub from government

Morning rush hour traffic in Colman Road in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Morning rush hour traffic in Colman Road in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A £430,000 attempt to cut pollution in Norwich city centre by reducing the number of cars commuting into the city has been dealt a major blow - after the government snubbed the project.

Council bosses had hoped to secure cash from a £2.4m government air quality grant pot for a project called Share SMART, which aimed to increasing the number of people sharing car journeys into the centre of Norwich by 10pc within a year.

But Norfolk County Council's bid was not successful, with the government favouring projects in towns and cities such as Barnsley, York, Oxford, Portsmouth, Bradford and Westminster in London.

The Norwich initiative, which was put together by the Transport for Norwich team in partnership with city-based car sharing network Liftshare, will now have to wait to see if funding can be obtained elsewhere. The council said the Share SMART - Save Money and Reduce Traffic initiative would be 'a targeted campaign of innovative awareness raising measures and journey matching tools to change the travel habits of hundreds of drivers so they start regularly sharing their commute to work rather than driving alone'.

The idea was to bring about a 'step change' in the number of commuters sharing cars, which the council said would 'deliver immediate benefits to air quality'.

Working with bosses of city-based companies, online communities would have been created so workers could match their commuting journeys with others.

The council said that, within 12 months, the initiative would:

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• Increase the number of people sharing car journeys into the centre of Norwich by 10pc.

• Cut the number of cars commuting into Norwich.

• Reduce air pollutant emissions, saving 650 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 1.7 tonnes of nitrogen oxide.

• Improve air quality in the city's air quality management area.

• Make Norwich a demonstrator city for car sharing and help other cities across the UK.

A spokesman for Transport for Norwich: 'We were obviously disappointed not to be awarded a grant for this project through the Air Quality Grant scheme, but will look at putting it forward for any appropriate funding opportunities that arise in the future.'

Which places have got pollution-busting cash?

These are some of the other projects nationally which were chosen ahead of Norwich for a share of the £2.4m air quality grants:

Westminster City Council: £232,850 to work with businesses to help reduce their emissions

Portsmouth City Council: £450,000 for a communications package and cycling infrastructure

Oxford City Council: £192,500 for electric vehicle charging points, electric fleet and technical study

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council: £125,000 for an ECO-STARS bus and taxi fleet

City of York Council: £216,008 for a local authority knowledge sharing online platform

Canterbury City Council: £33,354 for an awareness campaign in schools and community on transport and domestic burning stoves

Reading Borough Council: £100,000 for electric vehicle charging points in residential areas

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