Positive steps are being taken to tackle emissions from buses on a busy route through North Staffordshire.Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and First Bus have agreed measures which will mean vehicles used on a specific route in the borough will meet European emissions standards.
The measure will be an important step in improving air quality in the Basford bank area of Newcastle where the Government has called for action.
Borough Cabinet members are expected to rubber-stamp a new contract between the Council and the local bus operator next week.
The proposed contract with First Potteries Ltd will see the retrofitting of new technology to a number of the company’s fleet to reduce harmful emissions and help improve the air quality in the borough.
In 2018, a ministerial direction was given to the Borough Council, along with many other areas across the UK, requiring action to be taken to reduce the emission levels on the A53 as soon as possible.
The company has identified 25 buses that will be retrofitted with technology to bring them up to the required ‘Euro 6’ emission standards. Works will also include electrically driven fan cooling systems on 18 of the buses.
Cabinet member for environment and recycling, Cllr. Trevor Johnson, said: “This new contract is really good news and is a huge step in our aims to tackle the poor air quality that has been identified in some parts of the borough – and on one of the key roads recognised as needing improvement as soon as possible.
“Not only have we agreed the emission abatement retrofit with First Potteries but the funding has been signed-off by DEFRA as well, meaning that First can begin the installation of the emission abatement technology almost immediately.”
First Potteries is the only bus company currently operating in that area of the A53 - specifically the 3, 4 and 4a routes.
It is currently anticipated that the fully complaint public bus service on the relevant sections of the A53 will be in operation from August 2020.
Funding for the improvements will be met by DEFRA, via the Council, and will enable Newcastle to meet the required annual nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels a year sooner than previously estimated.
Last updated 12 March 2020
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