The Government has announced a multimillion pound package for English local authorities to help reduce toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution levels in buses.
Local authorities can bid for a £500,000 share of the £5m of the Clean bus technology fund, as well as the £500,000 Air quality grant scheme for 2015/16.
The clean bus fund is specifically targeted at reducing NOx levels in those towns and cities with the greatest air quality problems, while the air quality grant is designed to help improve air quality with local schemes such as cycling programmes and low emission strategies.
Local authorities are advised to make joint bids for the clean bus fund and must provide evidence that the technology proposed is able to reduce NOx emissions from the tailpipe by at least 50% under normal driving conditions.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said the fund would ‘provide hundreds of cleaner buses to improve air quality in towns and cities across England’ as he urged local authorities to submit bids.
‘The funding will also support the British industries helping deliver the technology. Today’s announcement continues the Government’s commitment to improve air quality by upgrading existing vehicles on the road while also backing the low-emission solutions for the future,’ he added.
Local authorities must submit bids by no later than 17:00 on Friday 30 October 2015. The DfT will announce the winning bids by early December 2015, with the funds paid by the end of that month.
In guidance to bidders the DfT highlights: 'The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) has recently estimated that the effects of NO2 on mortality are equivalent to 23,500 deaths in the UK annually in the UK. Many of the sources of NO2 are also sources of particulate matter (PM). The impact of exposure to particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) is estimated to have an effect on mortality equivalent to nearly 29,000 deaths in the UK.'