PLANS to improve York’s air quality have been boosted by £150,000 of Government funding for five schemes in the city.

The money will come from Defra and is the most any single local authority in the UK will receive, with £94,490 being put towards bringing in “low emission strategy” measures and £54,490 being used to assess their impact, as well as supporting greener transport initiatives.

City of York Council will use the funding to launch a public information campaign designed to raise awareness of the health impact of air pollution - which is believed to cause the premature deaths of more than 150 people in York every year - and promote low-emission vehicles and taxis.

This will include vehicle demonstration days, the purchase or lease of a low-emission vehicle for promotion activity and the development of a low emission taxi incentive scheme.

A study will also be carried out to assess the likely reduction in emissions through the i-Travel York campaign, aimed at encouraging more people to use transport methods other than cars. Meanwhile, the authority will carry out work on potentially introducing “anti-idling” policies, urging drivers to switch off their engines when they are parked for some time.

“This funding will allow us to support and implement further our push for low emissions in York,” said Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability.

“The opportunity to educate residents about air pollution and the damage it can cause, along with the promotion of low-emission vehicles, will be a big boost to improving air quality in the city.”