We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Tyneside buses emissions investment still falls short of what's needed say Lib Dems

February 8, 2018 10:20 PM

A £3.3m project to improve air quality by cutting harmful emissions from buses has been given a cautious welcome by Newcastle's Liberal Democrats.

The scheme will see 191 buses operating on 20 routes in Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside fitted with new engine technology which significantly reduces levels of pollutants.

However, the Liberal Democrats said "This is a modest improvement in that it allows operators to retrofit "scrubber" filters to diesel powered older buses, and will help to reduce emissions. But it falls short of what's really needed. The Liberal Democrats Opposition wants to see much cleaner low emissions buses introduced and a date set for transition away from polluting diesel engines for buses operating in the city, as well as for taxis and freight vehicles, in order to help meet clean air targets.

It means both passengers, other road users and communities along the affected routes will benefit from cleaner air.

Funding for the project was announced at the UK Bus Summit in London after Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside councils all submitted bids for a share of the Clean Bus Technology Fund.

The three authorities were among 29 identified by the Government as needing to address excessive levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide on certain roads, including a section of the A1058 Coast Road, the Tyne Bridge and part of Central Motorway.

The Government has required those council to address the issues "in the shortest possible time" and Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside councils have already agreed to work together on the solution.

Fitting buses with new technology to reduce the levels of harmful emissions they produce is one of the ways in which the problem can be tackled as many of the routes included are on or close to the roads identified by the Government.

Some buses in Newcastle already operate to the Euro 6 standard, an improvement (75% better on NOX emissions and 95% better on particulate emissions) on Euro 5 but is in some ways "old news" as it dates from 2014 and manufacturers have brought their "new" product to market already.

The industry is resistant to going even further and introducing a Euro 7 standard. They see this as the "end state" in terms of improving diesel engines. The challenge is to introduce reliable low-emissions gas or electric bus engines and there is clearly still work to do on this (the technology is available but achieving the required charging capacity to allow buses to operate "all day" without recharging is a bit trickier). Hybrid buses have been operating in London for some time.