Bus operators and councils across England can from today (September 10) bid for funding to help cut air pollution
Bus operators and local authorities across England are being urged by the government to bid for a share of £5 million funding towards fitting buses with technology to reduce exhaust emissions.
In addition, the government’s £500,000 Air Quality Grant Scheme for 2015/16 has also opened for applications from English local authorities exceeding nitrogen dioxide limits.
The Department for Transport today (September 10) launched its Clean Bus Technology Fund 2015 for applications of up to £500,000 each, which it states is “enough to retrofit hundreds of buses that will reduce NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions and improve air qualityâ€?.
Open for bids until the end of October, before the winners are announced towards the end of the year, the Clean Bus Technology Fund has a particular focus on pollution hotspots in cities and urban areas.
The £5 million funding scheme is open to bids which would fit existing bus fleets with technology which reduces NOx pollution from the buses by at least 50%.
The new scheme adds to the £20 million the government has already invested in clean bus technology since 2011, alongside “significant contributions from local authorities and bus operators in similar local retrofit schemes for different types of vehicles which have significantly improved air qualityâ€?.
So far, around 1,500 buses have been retrofitted in London and in other parts of England. Last year’s Clean Vehicle Technology Fund provided more than £8 million to councils to upgrade more than 1,200 vehicles, including vans taxis, buses and fire engines.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “The £5 million Clean Bus Technology Fund will provide hundreds of cleaner buses to improve air quality in towns and cities across England and I urge local authorities to submit bids.
“The funding will also support the British industries helping deliver the technology. Today’s announcement continues the government’s commitment to improve air quality by upgrading existing vehicles on the road while also backing the low-emission solutions for the future.â€?
Also launched today, Defra’s 2015/16 Air Quality Grant Scheme will support local authority projects in England to improve air quality in areas which struggle with high levels of nitrogen dioxide.
However, with a total pot of £500,000, this year’s fund is lower than last year’s £1 million scheme.
Successful bids have previously focuses on the likes of local cycling projects, developing and implementing local low emission strategies and local engagement and awareness raising initiatives.
Since it began in 1997, the scheme has awarded over £52 million in funding, to a variety of projects to help local authorities in making air quality improvements, and in meeting their statutory duties under the Environment Act 1995.