Local bus operator First West of England has said it has a fleet of buses already compliant with new legislation coming into force with the Bath Clean Air Zone on Monday 15th March.
The operator says it is aiming to have its entire fleet of buses in the city compliant at Euro 6 standard, with a combination of new-build vehicles and retrofits of new technology to slightly older models.
Euro 6 standard means harmful emissions are reduced by up to 95 percent compared to the oldest buses that have now been replaced.
Work on the buses that serve Bath is part of a £30 million investment programme across the whole of First West of England’s fleet.
This includes more than £3 million worth of Euro 6 buses introduced last spring in the distinctive new Aquae livery on the heavily-used Bristol to Bath route, services 39 and X39.
Bath’s Clean Air Zone will be the first to be introduced outside of London.
From Monday 15th March, non-compliant lorries, vans, coaches and buses will be charged to drive into the centre of Bath, though private cars and motorcycles will be exempt.
First has been working with Bath and North East Somerset Council to ensure that it continues to provide customers with a reliable service throughout the city while complying with the new legislation.
This programme has been possible due to Government funding and the technical support for the process has been provided by Energy Saving Trust.
John Dowie, First Bus Strategy Director, said, “We are committed to doing everything we can to make our buses as environmentally friendly as they can be for the communities we serve.
“We estimate that each retrofit reduces air pollutants and harmful emissions by up to 95%, and this makes a considerable positive impact to air quality for our towns and cities.
“Bus services will be a fundamental part of economic recovery as the UK starts to emerge from the pandemic.”
Councillor Joanna Wright, Bath and North East Somerset Joint Cabinet Member for Transport Services, added: “We are pleased with the commitment First West of England has shown in ensuring it is complaint ahead of the 15 March.
“We can all do something to improve air quality in the city. While charges in the zone only apply to commercial and larger vehicles, we’re appealing to everyone to change their travel habits, particularly when Covid restrictions hopefully lift later in the year as people are vaccinated and the pressure on the NHS reduces.
“That could be using the park and ride, taking the bus, or walking or cycling more – particularly on the school run and for shorter trips across the city.
“To reduce the harmful levels of NO2 in Bath, we’re asking everyone to do their bit.”