Three bus routes in Bath are set to benefit from government money to target low emission rates and help improve air quality in the city.
Bath and North East Somerset is among 20 councils in line for a slice of £40 million as part of the Clean Bus Technology Fund. The money will allow councils to retrofit vehicles with technology to reduce tailpipe emissions of nitrogen dioxide.
The aim is to help drive down emissions from buses and will enable older vehicles to meet minimum emission standards and contribute to better air quality.
Buses on Service 3 Bathford - London Road – City – Wellsway – Foxhill; Service X39 Bristol – Saltford – Bath; and Service 17 in Keynsham, will be upgraded to Euro VI standard emissions as a result of the funding.
A Euro VI fit will halve particulates and give around a 90% reduction in Nitrous Oxides (NOx), greatly improving air quality which is a major issue for the city.
Service 3 was specifically included because it operates along the city’s worst air quality corridor, London Road. These buses, along with those on route 17 which terminates in Keynsham, will be retro-fitted with SCRT technology to reduce emissions and it is hoped the work will be carried out within the next six months.
The X39 which is a high frequency service between Bath and Bristol, terminates at the bus station in Dorchester Street, another air quality hot spot. Different technology is being used on six buses which will be completely re-engined to Euro VI standard with another six re-engined to diesel Euro VI/ hybrids. It is hoped the work will be completed by the end of the year or early 2019.
Councillor Mark Shelford (Conservative, Lyncombe), Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment, said: “This really is very welcome news. It will contribute towards our commitment to drive down the current unacceptable levels of NO2 in areas such as London Road.
“Tackling emissions and encouraging more people to choose greener ways to travel is one of our priorities and investment on buses operating on these particular routes will have a direct impact on improving the health of people.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council is one of 29 local authorities already identified as part of the National Air Quality Plan as needing extra help to reduce NO2, and as a result is able to get significant Government funds and expertise, not previously available, for air quality improvements in affected parts of the city.
The council is highlighting the work it’s doing to radically reduce Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollution in series of public events to let people know about the urgent need to improve air quality.
The first in a series of open public events will be held at Widcombe Social Club on Wednesday 21February (1-5.30 pm). Public suggestions, put forward during the consultation on Bath’s Air Quality Action Plan, have already helped to produce a list of more than 60 ideas to help improve air quality in the city. From this work, the council will compile a shortlist of the best package of measures capable of achieving reduction targets quickly; and by 2021 at the latest.
The council will then work with the community to decide upon a preferred package by the end of the summer, and submit final proposals by the end of December 2018.
Along with two formal engagement periods the council will continually talk with stakeholders and the public starting with a series of drop-in sessions, workshops and events, and a social media campaign #BathBreathes2021.
For more information, go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/breathe or follow #BathBreathes2021 on social media.