Buses clean up with £2m funding

Buses in cities like Sheffield are being fitted with gear to cut emissions in pollution hotspots.
Buses in cities like Sheffield are being fitted with gear to cut emissions in pollution hotspots.

More than 120 buses in Yorkshire pollution hotspots are to be fitted with emission-busting technology, it was announced today.

Buses in Leeds, Sheffield, York, Harrogate and West Yorkshire are being retrofitted with equipment which will cut nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90 per cent, thanks to nearly £2m funding.

The Clean Bus Technology Fund 2015 is being awarded to 18 local authorities across England.

The Government is under pressure to meet European air quality regulations - particularly those covering nitrogen oxide.

Diesels produce far more NOx - a generic term for nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide - than petrol vehicles, which can be harmful to the lungs. Last month it was announced a new scheme similar to London’s congestion zone would to be rolled out in Leeds by 2020, with vehicles having to pay up to £12 to drive down its most popular streets.

Pollution is estimated to cause 2,500 deaths in Yorkshire and the Humber region and Leeds has repeatedly failed to meet EU targets. Although city centre air pollution has declined, residents in Headingley are still breathing in dirty air beyond legal limits.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Greener buses mean a cleaner town and city centres for Yorkshire and a healthier environment for everyone. “The 121 upgraded buses that will soon hit the roads in Yorkshire continue our commitment to better air quality by investing in greener transport.”

The buses will be fitted with exhaust gas treatment systems called selective catalytic reduction.

As part of the award, councils must continue to monitor the schemes and provide evidence of their effectiveness.

The Government said £2 billion worth of measures had been spent on green transport since 2011.

It says it will spend £600 million on low-emission technology over the next five years, with the aim of making almost every car and van zero emission by 2050.