Birmingham to get green buses in multi-million pound scheme tackling exhaust fumes

More than 400 buses in Birmingham and Coventry are to be fitted with pollution busting technology thanks to grants totalling £4.5 million.

West Midlands Combined Authority has been awarded the money by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Clean Bus Technology Fund to retrofit buses with kits that tackle exhaust emissions.

The WMCA received funding for £3 million in Birmingham, which will be matched by £2.9 million from four bus operators – National Express West Midlands, Diamond, Claribels and First – to install kits on 364 vehicles. These will be buses running in Birmingham city centre, more than half of which then travel on routes to the Black Country. Cllr Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport on the WMCA, said:  

“This is fantastic news and a very welcome addition to the bus fleet of the West Midlands. Reducing bus engine emissions is key in tackling the hugely important issue of air quality in city centres.

“It is also a priority of the West Midlands Bus Alliance, which is working hard to raise standards across the region.”

Councillor Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Transport and Roads, at Birmingham City Council added: “Public transport plays a key role in encouraging people to leave their cars at home and use alternative methods to get around, which helps tackle congestion and the impact of vehicle emissions on our city.

“It’s great news that, in addition to the 20 new super clean hydrogen-fuelled buses we announced late last year, four operators will be retrofitting emission-reducing kits to more than 360 buses serving the city centre, demonstrating their commitment to helping improve air quality for Birmingham’s citizens.”

The technology works by capturing harmful particulates and nitrogen dioxide gases from the vehicle’s engine. It takes a team of two engineers around six hours to fit a filter and a selective catalytic reduction “trap” to each bus.

Once installed, harmful emissions coming out of the exhaust are reduced by as much as 96%, making the air coming out of the exhaust cleaner than the air in the city outside.

The West Midlands Bus Alliance, the first of its kind in the UK, brings together bus operators, local councils, and other partners to work together to deliver high levels of passenger satisfaction and drive forward investment in our bus services.


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