A Derby bus operator has made a multi-million pound investment in its fleet which it claims will contribute to improvements in air quality in the city.
Indigo Buses, part of the trentbarton bus company which operates throughout the East Midlands including Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, has pledged to invest a total Â£4.5 million in its Derby fleet.
The money is being invested in 28 new Euro VI buses, 15 of which have been delivered following an initial Â£2.5 million investment by the company, with an additional 13 due to be added in the autumn at a further cost of around Â£2 million.
According to Indigo the British-built Alexander Dennis Enviro200 buses each emit less nitrogen dioxide than a new car, therefore contributing to efforts to tackle air pollution in the city.
The vehicles also feature start/stop technology to cut the engine at bus stops and traffic lights, which it is claimed will also lead to improvements in air quality.
Derby was one of five authorities ordered by government in its 2015 air quality plan ordered to bring forward proposals to improve air quality to within legal limits in the shortest possible timeframe.
The companyâ€™s managing director, Jeff Counsel, said: â€œAn attractive, frequent, reliable and low-emission public transport network needs to be central to the plans if Derby is to meet its objectives.
â€œCreating a Clean Air Zone is going to require significant and joined-up action by a wide range of organisations, including public transport providers. trentbarton is committed to playing its part by consistently investing millions in the newest buses.
â€œAs a city, Derby needs to tempt more car drivers to switch some journeys to other transport modes. Using a bus instead of a car not only cuts emissions it also reduces congestion, multiplying the benefits to Derbyâ€™s air quality.â€
Derby has outlined three potential options that are under consideration to comply with the order, which include re-routing traffic away from NO2 hotspots, a targeted incentive scheme for vehicle renewal and a third option, albeit not favoured by the council, of a Clean Air Zone (see airqualitynews.com story).
Councillor Matthew Holmes, the councilâ€™s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Leadership, Regeneration and Public Protection, has welcomed the investment in the bus fleet, which he claimed â€˜supports the councilâ€™s commitment to improving air qualityâ€™.
He said: â€œThe new buses not only look great, they will help to promote sustainable travel across Derby and encourage more people to use public transport.
â€œDuring the launch I found it surprising to be told that some diesel cars have higher emissions than the new buses. That demonstrates how investment like this supports our commitment to tackle air pollution in Derby. Itâ€™s great to see a local company like trentbarton investing in Derby and its future.â€