Buses in Sheffield are switching from diesel to cleaner engine fuels as part of a £1m scheme improving local air quality.
Clean Bus Technology Funding from the Department of Transport is being used to retrofit five Stagecoach vehicles with dedicated Compressed Natural Gas engines, which will run on biomethane.
The scheme, which has been part-funded by Stagecoach in Sheffield, will reduce engine noise by 50 per cent, deliver carbon savings of between 85 and 140 per cent and ensure the virtual elimination of particulate matter from exhausts.
It will also create increased employment and apprenticeships opportunities at equipment suppliers including city-based Chesterfield Special Cylinders.
Paul Lynch, managing director, Stagecoach Yorkshire, said:
“We are delighted to have been successful in securing this significant Clean Bus technology Funding.
“It forms part of our continued commitment to improving air quality by switching from diesel to cleaner fuels.
“Along with our own investment into scheme, it supports the reduction of reliance on diesel as a primary fuel source in the future.”
Five Euro IV Optare Solo buses will be fitted with the Natural Gas Engines and will operate along Stagecoach’s SL2 and 35 routes.
The hilly routes, which create an increase in emissions because the vehicles are working at capacity, are within the city’s Air Quality Management Area and provide an important link to Stagecoach Supertram serving the city centre, Hillsborough, universities and Meadowhall.
The investment also includes the installation of a Compressed Natural Gas refuelling station at Stagecoach’s Ecclesfield depot.
Sheffield City Council led the Clean Bus Technology Fund bid in partnership with Stagecoach as part of the Sheffield Bus Partnership.
Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, said:
“It’s really good news that we’ve been able to secure this money. Greener buses will help reduce fuel costs.
“Even better, these buses are clearly much better for the environment – a hugely important issue for us, given that in Sheffield 500 people per year die prematurely from bad air quality.
“Their introduction will help to improve our environment and maintain our reputation as a cutting edge city for technology and innovation.”
The scheme will start in the new year when work will retrofit the vehicles is complete.