Councils awarded share of £40 million for bus retrofits

Local authorities in line to receive a share of £40 million through the government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund have been named by the Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani.

Funding will be used to retrofit buses with technology to bring them in line with strict emissions standards, in a bid to improve air quality in towns and cities.

Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani has announced the latest round of funding available through the government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund

West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Bristol city council, Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for London and Leeds city council are among the authorities to share in the latest pot of money, to be spent in 2018/19. (See full list of recipients below)

Some of the funding has been brought forward, the government has said, after ‘strong interest’ from local authorities in utilising the money.

The Clean Bus Fund, which is run by the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit, has already committed over £19 million to authorities in 2017/18 to carry out retrofits.

In total, around 2,768 buses are expected to have been brought in line with the Euro VI emissions standard by mid-2019 as a result of the project.

Air Quality

Ms Ghani announced the latest pot of funding at the Bus Summit in London yesterday (8 February), at which she told delegates that the project would help to bring improvements in air quality in towns and cities across the country.

She said: “The sooner we get more low emission buses on the road, the faster we’ll reap the benefits. So today I’m pleased to announce that we’ll be awarding nearly £40 million of that funding to 20 local authorities as part of the Clean Bus Technology Fund.

“This will be used to retrofit buses with technology to reduce tailpipe emissions of nitrogen dioxide. Originally we invited authorities to apply for a funding total of £30 million now and £10 million in 2 years’ time.

“But we received a large number of strong applications for this round. And we wanted to start realising the air quality benefits as quickly as possible. So we’ve made the full amount — just under £40 million — available now to fund two-year projects.”

Analysis of the available retrofit options carried out by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has suggested that selective catalytic reduction (SCR) after-treatment and diesel bus engine conversion to electric are the most effective technologies at reducing NOx emissions (see story) although costs vary across the options.

Commenting on the announcement, the LowCVP’s Managing Director Andy Eastlake said: “The CBTF funding shows the commitment that the Government is making to help bus operators deliver the cleanest fleets through retrofitting existing vehicles and supporting for introduction of new Low Emission and Ultra Low Emission Buses.

“Importantly the CVRAS [Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation] scheme, developed by the LowCVP and EST, provides the confidence that these technologies will really deliver the clean vehicles both under test and in service.”

Full list of Clean Bus Technology Fund recipients:

Clean Bus Technology Fund 2017 to 2019 winners Number of buses 2017/18 funding 2018/19 funding
1. West Yorkshire Combined Authority 156 £1,368,000 £1,474,200
2. Bristol City Council 81 £1,047,800 £1,167,000
3. Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council 79 £828,000 £674,180
4. Leeds City Council 75 £0 £1,371,000
5. Transport for West Midlands 364 £1,500,000 £1,500,000
6. Leicester City Council 109 £1,101,581 £1,101,581
7. Oxford City Council 83 £938,910 £724,020
8. Coventry City Council 104 £0 £1,500,000
9. Nottinghamshire County Council 112 £1,373,265 £0
10. Transport for Greater Manchester 170 £1,500,000 £1,500,000
11. North Tyneside Council 69 £862,600 £339,000
12. Nottingham City Council 171 £1,500,000 £1,196,517
13. Transport for London 500 £1,500,000 £1,500,000
14. Sheffield City Council 117 £560,000 £1,386,800
15. Sefton Council 149 £1,499,586 £1,497,277
16. Southampton City Council 145 £1,117,835 £1,500,000
17. Derby City Council 152 £1,500,000 £798,330
18. Essex County Council 60 £1,072,500 £0
19. South Tyneside Council 29 £232,500 £252,000
20. Newcastle City Council 43 £180,000 £510,000
Totals 2768 £19,742,577 £19,991,905

Commenting on the latest round of funding, Environment Minister Therese Coffey, added: “Poor air quality affects public health, the economy and the environment, which is why we are determined to do more.

“I am delighted to see so many high quality applications to the Clean Bus Technology Fund and, as a result, the government has decided to bring forward funding meaning that we will award nearly £40 million to retrofit more than 2,700 buses.”


Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has welcomed funding being made available to his region — up to £3 million over the 2017/19 period — which will be used on services in areas where high levels of NO2 have been measured.

Catalytic reduction air quality

Retrofit options include SCRT

However, the Mayor called for additional support from government in tackling air pollution in the Greater Manchester region. Mr Burnham has previously ruled out the introduction of charges for motorists to address air quality (see story).

He said: “Air pollution is one of the most pressing public health issues of our times. We have already taken steps to invest in cleaner buses in Greater Manchester and this funding will help us go further.

“While this is good news, I’m still extremely concerned that the level of government funding available is inadequate to address the scale of the problem.”

He added: “Investing in cleaning up local bus fleets will be critical to ensuring bus plays its role in addressing air pollution, both through cleaner vehicles and by offering a more attractive way to travel than the private car.”


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