Colchester buses upgraded to cut emissions

Colchester borough council and bus firm First Essex retrofit 10 buses with SCR technology to help improve air quality

Ten buses in Colchester have been upgraded to reduce their nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions after a successful bid for government funding by the borough council.

(L-R) Essex fleet director for First buses Chris Phillips; Belinda Silkstone of Colchester borough council and; Steve Hartman of First Buses

(L-R) Essex fleet director for First buses Chris Phillips; Belinda Silkstone of Colchester borough council and; Steve Hartman of First Buses

Having secured funding after a joint bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) last year, bus firm First Essex fitted 10 of its Colchester bus fleet with Eminox selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology designed to reduce emissions by 80%.

Particulate traps have also been installed “to eliminate most of the harmful particulate matter emissions”, according to First Essex, along with cooling E-fans provided by vehicle systems firm Avid to improve fuel efficiency.

The ten upgraded Euro 3 standard buses started operating on Colchester routes in late 2015, and emissions will now be monitored both on the buses themselves as well as though the council’s network of air sampling diffusion tubes throughout the borough.

First Essex said the upgrades form part of its “much improved” fleet, having reportedly invested £2 million in 17 new Euro 6 engine buses for the town.

Chris Phillips, fleet engineer for First Essex said: “As part of our commitment to improving bus provision in and around the town of Colchester, we are also committed to improving the environmental impact and air quality in the area.

“Partnerships are key in delivering sustainable projects as highlighted by this initiative with Colchester borough council to improve air quality.”


The project forms part of Colchester borough council’s Low Emissions Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) — documents which are both currently out for public consultation (see story).

Colchester borough councillor Tina Bourne, portfolio Holder for housing and public protection, said: “It is well known that exhaust fumes from traffic, particularly older diesel vehicles, are one of the biggest causes of air pollution in Colchester so we are pleased these vehicles now have greatly reduced emissions, thanks to our partnership with First Essex.

“We are committed to tackling air quality issues in the borough, working alongside businesses and organisations, to ensure everyone living, working and travelling in Colchester has clean air to breathe.”

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