Greater Manchester is set to receive a multi-million pound investment for dozens of new electric buses to help improve air quality across the city-region.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has successfully bid for £5.4 million government funding to part-fund 23 new electric buses and charging infrastructure, helping to cut down on harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate emissions.
The buses will be used on the successful Vantage service running on the Leigh – Salford – Manchester busway, and the Manchester city centre free bus network.
Three Greater Manchester bus operators – Stagecoach, First and Manchester Community Transport – have also been awarded part-funding for a total of 47 new electric buses.
The Department for Transport’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme aims to increase the uptake of ultra-low emission buses (ULEB), and support the improvement of local air quality.
Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “This is good news for Greater Manchester’s bus passengers, who can now look forward to seeing even more modern, environmentally-friendly electric buses on our roads, in place of more polluting vehicles.
“Some buses contribute heavily to poor air quality, a problem that affects us all – but in particular the poorest and most vulnerable in society – and which contributes to the equivalent of 1,200 deaths every year in Greater Manchester.
“Buses have an essential role to play in that, which is why we’re working towards having a zero-emission bus fleet – and today’s funding announcement is another step in reaching that ambitious goal.”
Greater Manchester has a strong track record of taking advantage of available funding to upgrade the local bus fleet, targeting areas with poor air quality.
Following TfGM’s successful £3 million bid to the DfT Clean Bus Technology Fund last year, £1.87 million has been allocated to bus operators to retrofit 110 vehicles with pollution control equipment technology to reduce harmful NO2 tailpipe emissions. An estimated further 60 vehicles are to follow.
Prior to this, TfGM successfully bid to the ‘Clean Air for Schools’ programme to have its diesel Yellow School Buses retrofitted with similar equipment.
Today’s funding announcement complements Greater Manchester’s development of a Clean Air Plan to tackle Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) at the roadside.
To support any future Clean Air Plan, Andy Burnham has written to the Secretary of State for the Environment on behalf of Greater Manchester local authorities to ask for more early funding for the replacement and/or retrofit of buses which contribute to the city-region’s air quality problem.
There are nearly 2,000 buses running in Greater Manchester and around 350 currently have environmentally-friendly Euro VI engines. A further estimated 1,260 vehicles have Euro IV and V engines that could be retrofitted with clean technology to reduce emissions, while the remaining older vehicles cannot be retrofitted.