Almost £1.5m needed for Coventry air quality improvement plans
A further £1.48 million is needed for plans to improve air quality in Coventry.
Coventry City Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve a request for further government funding as it prepares to submit its final business case in December.
Plans to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions without the need for a controversial Clean Air Zone were approved by government in February.
A total of £24.5m has been awarded for the scheme, which includes a new link road to the ring road, a Coundon cycle route and cleaner buses and taxis.
The initial full business case was expected to be approved by government in June but has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Balfour Beatty has already been appointed as the programme manager for the various highways schemes with design work having commenced.
Final plans will receive cabinet backing on December 1, however councillors will be told there is now a £1.487m shortfall with further government support required.
Speaking at an update of the plans at a council meeting on Wednesday, John Seddon, head of transport and innovation, said: “Refinement of the costs we’ve had from the work with Balfour to date, we have got a bit of a shortfall of around £1.48m so we have highlighted that in a full business case and subject to cabinet approval a request for that funding will be submitted to government.
“They have indicated more funding might be available once the final business case is prepared, so we are at that stage where we are asking the question of them.”
Coventry’s plans include £4m investment for a new 1.7 mile two-way Coundon cycleway – the city’s first segregated cycleway. Work is due to begin in the coming weeks with an expected completion date of autumn 2021.
Capacity improvements will also be made on the B4106 through Spon End and Junction 7 of the ring road, which has secured an additional £5.8m grant from the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Another key change will see Upper Hill Street opened up to create a new link to the ring road, easing traffic congestion on Holyhead Road which is the most polluting road in Coventry.
Other plans include encouraging the use of electric-powered taxis, new electric vehicle charging points, retrofitting cleaner engines on 100 buses, and 10 new electric buses on the number nine route which came into operation earlier in August.
A public consultation on the highways schemes is due early next year.
Cllr Patricia Hetherton, cabinet member for city services, added: “We’ve secured funding for these projects and more importantly we can gradually encourage motorists to look at other travel options by education rather than enforcement.
“Clearly, the impact of Covid-19 has caused delays but we are confident we can get the engagement programme with schools and businesses fully started in early 2021 to run through to March 2024
“It’s about encouraging behaviour change over the longer term.”