South West councils secure £462,000 to cut bus emissions

42 buses in Bristol and Bath will be retrofitted to cut nitrogen dioxide emissions after councils receive government grant

Bristol city and Bath & North Somerset councils are set to retrofit 42 buses with air pollution-limiting technology after receiving £462,000 in government grants.

A joint bid saw the two councils work together to secure £378,000 of funding from the Department of Transport (DfT)’s Clean Vehicle Technology Fund, with a further £84,000 provided by bus company First Group in match-funding.

42 buses across Bristol and Bath are to be retrofitted with emissions-limiting technology

42 buses across Bristol and Bath are to be retrofitted with emissions-limiting technology

The money will be spent on upgrading 42 buses — 31 based at Bristol depots and 11 based in Bath — in order to make them more fuel efficient and reduce both the carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions produced, the councils announced this week (September 24).

Nitrogen oxide emissions are expected to drop by 50% per bus each year as a result of the retrofit programme, while fuel consumption is also expected to improve by 10%. Meanwhile, the retrofit is also designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4.5 tonnes per bus.

The retrofit will be a ‘two-step process’, according to the councils — the first stage seeing thermal management technology being fit to the exhaust systems which is “designed to maintain temperatures at a level which optimises the efficient reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions”.

Micro-hybrid systems will then be retro-fitted to the 42 vehicles. This, the authorities state, will ensure any energy lost during braking is harnessed and used to power electrical and air systems on the bus.

Bristol Mayor, George Ferguson, said: “This is yet another example of the work we are doing to maintain our position and growing reputation as the most liveable city in the UK, and to make sure we become the healthiest city in the UK.

“Keeping Bristol moving with high quality, affordable public transport and cleaner air for all has always been one of my top priorities.”

Bath & East Somerset

According to the councils, the retrofit programme is the latest in a series of measures — such as upgraded bus shelters and free WiFi — to improve public transport as a result of partnership working between Bristol city council, Bath & North East Somerset council and First West of England

Councillor Paul Crossley, leader of Bath & North East Somerset council, said: “This award demonstrates how bidding in partnership with neighbouring authorities and private sector transport providers can bring great results.

“Bath & North East Somerset council pioneered the use of low carbon hybrid buses on its Park & Ride services in 2012 through a previous government funding competition.

“Our emerging transport strategy for Bath will stress the need for more investment in low carbon vehicles to help us get the improvement in air quality that we all want to see.”

Paul Matthews, Managing Director of First West of England, said: “It is fantastic news that the government has sought, in the lead up to Bristol’s year as the European Green Capital, to recognise the environmental benefits to be gained from this work.

“While we continue to look at new technology for our future bus orders, it is great that we are, with help like this, able to also retro fit some of our existing vehicles. This is great news for both Bristol and Bath. We look forward to delivering this scheme in the coming months.”


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