Begg advocates major Euro 6 retrofit scheme

CPT has welcomed the latest report from Greener Journeys which claims buses are an integral part of the solution to improving air quality. The report ‘Improving Air Quality in Towns & Cities’, written by David Begg, argues that bus travel is the most cost effective solution to improving air quality and should be at the very heart of the government’s clean air strategy. 

“This important piece of work clearly demonstrates the contribution that bus travel can make to improving air quality,” says CPT chief executive Simon Posner. “Operators have invested huge sums in newer, cleaner fleets and the vehicles on the road are now more environmentally friendly than they have ever been.”

“The Clean Air Zones, Low Emission Zones and Ultra Low Emission Zones all present challenges for the bus and indeed coach sector. Professor Begg has confirmed what CPT has maintained for a long time, that buses are part of the solution not just a cause of the problem.”

Begg argues that rapid conversion to Euro 6 diesel through a retrofitting programme is the best option to maximise the benefits of the forthcoming Clean Air Zones. “Buses are becoming incredibly green. Since 2004, NOx emissions from diesel buses have been reduced by a factor of 20, but emissions for diesel cars have only reduced by less than a third,” says Begg. “The Treasury would get 15 times more value from investing in bus retrofitting than they would from a diesel car scrappage scheme (measure in kg of NOx saved). If retrofitting is not permitted we face the prospect of fares rising by 40% in our urban conurbations and bus patronage falling by 20 per cent.”

The report is published as the government this week sought a further delay in producing its plans to tackle air quality, claiming that election ‘purdah’ rules prevent it from making political announcements, although many commentators interpret this as an unwillingness to propose measures such as curbing the use of diesel cars until after the election.