GLASGOW is leading the UK in putting new buses and coaches with the greenest diesel engines on the streets to cut air pollution.
More than four in five of the new buses – 85 in total – operating in Scotland’s largest city last year had the cleanest-available “Euro VI” engines.
This was also a huge increase on the three registered in 2014.
There were more Euro VI buses added to fleets in London and Birmingham last year, but they were a smaller proportion of total new vehicles.
Such engines produce one eighth as much pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and particulates as the next cleanest type.
Many of the new Glasgow buses were introduced by First, the city’s main operator, from last month. They comprise double and single deck and smaller “midi” buses, all built at Falkirk-based Alexander Dennis.
Other firms buying Euro VI vehicles for the city include Stagecoach. The moves have been helped by grants of £13 million from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Green Bus Fund since 2010.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which published the figures, said the increase had been spurred by tighter emission limits. Chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The bus industry has invested billions in advanced vehicle technology that delivers real results, so it is encouraging to see this rapid uptake of Euro-VI in the UK.
“The UK automotive sector remains committed to working alongside operators, government and local councils to encourage widespread adoption of the latest vehicles that will help dramatically improve the air quality in our towns and cities.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: “It is welcome news that the bus industry is getting greener.
“Public transport has a key role to play in tackling Scotland’s air pollution health crisis, which claims the lives of over 2,000 people every year.”
However, she added: “Bus companies need to move beyond Euro VI and towards electric and hybrid buses – a move that is already well under way in Edinburgh thank to Lothian Buses’ exemplary approach.
“The Scottish Green Bus Fund presents an opportunity for bus operators working with councils to improve their fleets.
‘However, uptake in some areas has been slow. Companies need to respond to the public thirst for cleaner, greener buses if the industry is to expand again.”