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£1 million secured for greener Essex buses

14 February 2018

Buses in Essex are set to become more eco-friendly after Essex County Council and partners secured more than a million pounds in grant funding from the Government.

The Council has announced £1,072,500 secured from The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ ‘Clean Bus Technology Fund’.

The money was secured through a joint bid with Colchester Borough Council, Rochford District Council and Southend-on-Sea. It will be used to retrofit 60 Arriva and First buses in the Colchester and Rochford Air Quality Management Areas to Euro VI, which is the highest emissions standard.

Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Passenger Transport, said: “This is great news to help improve air quality and offer residents more environmentally-friendly sustainable transport options.

“I am delighted that these newly upgraded buses, including our own Colchester Park and Ride vehicles, will be helping to reduce harmful NO2 emissions.

“A full single-decker bus can take up to 40 cars off our roads so they really do offer a great option to tackle pollution and congestion.”

Essex is one of just 20 local authorities in the country to have secured funding and is now looking to upgrade buses as soon as possible.

Some of the first buses expected to benefit from the upgrades will be in Colchester where commercial and Park and Ride services will be improved.

Colchester Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Waste & Sustainability, Cllr Jessica Scott-Boutell, said: “Exhaust fumes from traffic, particularly older diesel vehicles, are one of the biggest causes of air pollution in the Borough. So, I am absolutely delighted that this funding will eventually bring almost a quarter of all the buses operating in Colchester up to the latest emissions standards required for Clean Air Zones.

“We are committed to tackling air quality issues, in partnership with businesses and organisations, to ensure everyone living, working and travelling in Colchester has clean air to breathe.”

A number of bus services which run along the A127 corridor, where air quality issues have been identified, are also set to benefit from the funding.

Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Community, Cllr Mike Webb, said: “We are really pleased to have secured such significant funding to upgrade buses travelling through Rayleigh, thereby contributing to our ongoing work to improve air quality in Rochford district for the benefit of our residents. We look forward to seeing the cleaner buses on our roads in the coming months.”