One green UK city has secured government funding to help reduce pollution and raise awareness of health issues associated with poor air quality.

A £30,000 grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will enable Bristol City Council to research the freight and delivery needs of traders and businesses in the Old City area, and use the information for future logistics projects, which if implemented across the city centre would help to improve air quality.

The council has also received a further £20,800 from Defra to fund a flagship electric vehicle that will be used to carry out a range of environmental monitoring duties around Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire.

The vehicle will be used at events throughout 2015 to raise the awareness of pollution-related health issues. This will include information on the measures that people can take to reduce their impact on Bristol’s air quality and to minimise their exposure to poor quality air.

Mayor George Ferguson said: “We are working hard to protect Bristol citizens from harmful gases produced by traffic, so I am delighted that the government grant will enable important research to help us work with businesses to reduce pollution. This research will help officers come up with a solution which meets the needs of traders and businesses and improves air quality through controlled, coordinated traffic movements.”

He added: “Poor air quality has a greater public health impact than road traffic accidents and passive smoking combined, not to mention the local cost of health impacts to Bristol is in the region of £83m a year.

“Let’s use our year as European Green Capital as a catalyst for change in air quality for our city.”