Nearly 100 buses across the North West are set to be fitted with clean technology to cut emissions, while the UK low emission vehicles market recorded a surge in demand in 2015.
Following the award of more than £1.4 million from the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund, 93 buses in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside will be retrofitted with exhaust gas treatment systems to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
As well as being a greenhouse gas, NOx is one of the biggest contributors to local air pollution. Many urban areas in the UK currently exceed EU limits for NOx emissions, with the Government being forced to put a new framework in place to reduce pollution from vehicles.
Buses are a prime candidate to be retrofitted with cleaner technologies due to their high mileage in urban areas and long operational life. The selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology that will be fitted to the bus exhaust systems could reduce NOx emissions by as much as 90 per cent.
In total, the Department for Transport has provided nearly £7 million of funding, which will be used to retrofit at least 439 buses in 18 local authorities across England.
Transport minister, Andrew Jones, said: “The upgraded buses that will soon hit the roads in England continue our commitment to better air quality by investing in greener transport.
“By targeting pollution hotspots and backing the low-emission technology of the future, we are making the right long-term decisions to improve people’s lives.”
Upgrading existing public transport is additional to the Government’s £600 million investment in low emission vehicle technology over the next five years through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
New figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show the demand for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles soared in 2015, with the number of cars on the road eligible for the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant scheme nearly doubling in a year.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said attractive finance deals were helping buyers to access “some of the most innovative, high tech and fuel efficient vehicles ever produced”.
In December 2015, the Government announced a long-term extension to its Plug-in Car Grant scheme, which guarantees the grant until at least March 2018.
From March 2016, buyers of ultra-low emission vehicles will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £4,500. The Government will also continue to provide a grant to help vehicle owners install a charging point at their home.