Funds pledged to clean up buses

Pollution from buses is set to reduce in 20 local authority areas in England. The Government has promised £40M for councils to retrofit older vehicles with technology designed to cut nitrogen dioxide from tailpipe emissions.

But the Campaign for Better Transport said the investment, while welcome, does not go far enough. It called for a move away from “small dollops of money” towards long term funding to speed the transition to cleaner buses.

The group’s bus campaigner Chris Todd added: “To make this investment count, the Government also needs to look at ways of keeping buses moving. We need to see more bus priority measures introduced, so these clean buses are not just stuck in traffic jams.”

He also urged Government to introduce a long term bus investment strategy.

Funding for the retrofit of older vehicles will come from the Clean Bus Technology Fund, which was launched last year. Money is being made available to fund two year projects.
The big winners from the fund are the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and London, which will each receive £3M. Authorities securing more than £2M are West Yorkshire, Bristol, Leicester, Nottingham, Sefton, Southampton and Derby.

Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Road transport is going to change dramatically over the next couple of decades and we have to make sure that the bus industry is ready to benefit from those changes.”

She added: “We have to move away from nose to tail car traffic at peak times, endless engine idling, stop start travel and rising pollution and carbon emissions. Rather than contributing to the problem, buses and coaches very much form part of the solution.”

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham welcomed the funding as good news, but said: “I’m still extremely concerned that the level of Government funding available is inadequate to address the scale of the problem.

“The Government’s Clean Air Plan places the burden of tackling emissions on local authorities but lacks specifics on national action, and we need a range of local and national measures to address this effectively.”