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Tourist buses taking green route with a cash handout
Buy this photo » An open-top bus makes its way into Broad Street. Picture Ric Mellis
OPEN-top tourist buses are to get pollution-busting technology thanks to a Government cash handout.
Oxford City Council has been given £199,995 to fit 11 buses with nitrogen oxide-reducing (NOx) devices.
They will go on Guide Friday City Sightseeing buses operated by Tom Tappin Ltd.
It is the latest effort to tackle bus pollution in the city after it was declared a pollution hotspot in 2010.
The news was welcomed by John Tanner, executive board member for Cleaner, Greener Oxford.
The Labour councillor said: “Some of the tourist buses are pretty notorious for their pollution levels. This money will help the buses to clean up their act and to be a better advertisement for Oxford.” He said regular bus firms like Stagecoach had “really cleaned up their act” in recent years in an effort to meet the EU’s Euro 5 standards.
Mr Tanner said: “This will bring tourist buses in line with what is happening elsewhere.”
The cash will go on “selective catalytic reduction technology” that cuts NOx emissions by at least 60 per cent, the council said.
These are the most significant pollutants which the technology will cut by at least 80 per cent.
Oxford was made an “air quality management area” in 2010 because nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels exceeded European Commission standards.
Running costs of about £21,000 for the new technology will be met by Tom Tappin Ltd, the council said.
The cash was announced this week by transport minister Baroness Kramer, from the Clean Bus Technology Fund.
She said: “This extra funding means more buses can be cleaned up so that they put out less pollution.
“It will also boost jobs and growth by helping to stimulate our cutting-edge green technology.”
A total of £1.4m was given to five towns and cities and comes after the county earlier this month benefited from a £2.4m UK bus handout.
The cash will go on two new buses that use green technology like electric, hybrid and biomethane gas- powered buses.
Stagecoach said it will have replaced its city fleet by December to be “fully compliant with the low emission zone requirements”.
And Oxford Bus Company managing director Philip Kirk said: “We have been fitting emissions suppression kits to our buses and coaches since 1995, and so we didn’t qualify for this assistance – we’ve already done it.”
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