Southampton receives over £2.5 million from Clean Bus Technology Fund
Government funding is scheduled to modernise buses that operate within Southampton, helping to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions and improve local air quality…
Southampton City Council, in partnership with four bus companies, has secured £2.6 million from the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund (CBTF) to reduce harmful emissions from buses.
Twenty cities across the UK have won a share of the Joint Air Quality Unit’s £40 million funding pot and Southampton’s portion will be used to retrofit 145 buses that operate in the city; helping achieve the Council’s ambitions to improve local air quality on busy bus corridors.
The programme of retrofitting these older buses will commence in spring 2018 and will take approximately 10 months to fully complete.
The council bid in partnership with First Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire, Go-South Coast, Xelabus and Wheelers Travel – who between them operate all 35 of the bus routes in the city. This funding forms part of a wider investment by bus operators into newer and cleaner fleets. This includes 32 new Euro VI double deck buses (the cleanest form of diesel buses available) as part of the Unilink service, due to be delivered in the summer. In addition, Xelabus are having three Volvo Hybrid double deck buses with stop/start technology delivered this Easter.
Southampton has been identified, in the Government’s National Plan, to address roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations and this funding will help deliver some improvements. In addition, 15 of the 35 bus routes also extend beyond Southampton to routes that run through areas in Eastleigh, Winchester and the New Forest; providing further regional benefits.
Councillor Christopher Hammond, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Living, said: “This funding will help reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions from older buses in the city, helping meet a key objective of Southampton City Council’s Clean Air Strategy. Once the programme of retrofits is completed in early 2019, this will contribute towards improved air quality on congested road corridors in the city.”
The funding from the CBTF is supported by match-funding from the bus operators who supplied £815,680 for refurbished vehicles, driver training and investment to improve fuel economy. This grant will be used for fitting up to 145 pre-Euro VI standard buses with Selective Catalytic Reduction Technology (SCRT) and telematics exhaust monitoring equipment. The technology has been accredited by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme and so will ensure retrofitted buses are compliant with Clean Air Zone requirements.