Minister Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department for Transport (DfT), has launched a new £5 million (USD 7.8 million) Clean Bus Technology Fund which will allow local authorities to bid for grants to upgrade local buses by retrofitting pollution reducing technologies, such as cleaner engines operating on biomethane (renewable natural gas). The grant was announced during Minister Baker’s keynote address to the (first) UK Biomethane & Gas Vehicle Conference 2013 in London.
Local authorities will be able to bid for grants of up to £1 million from the Department for Transport’s Clean Bus Technology Fund.
The scheme is in addition to the £12 million funding announced last month for 213 new low carbon buses in the latest round of the Green Bus Fund, including 31 biomethane-fuelled buses. Stagecoach was a successful grant applicant, receiving funding toward the purchase of seventeen Scania/ADL Enviro 300 single-decker biomethane gas buses. Whilst last month’s announcement was for new buses, this new round of funding is for retrofitting current buses with green technology.
Speaking at the UK’s first Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference, City Hall, Sustainable Transport Minister Norman Baker said, “The potential benefits of using biogas are huge so it is pleasing to see events like this taking place and raising its profile.”
“Taking the bus is a great and environmentally friendly way of getting around and with the government maintaining the concessionary bus passes it is free for the elderly. However, some older buses are not as green as I would like so we have announced this money for local authorities, such as East Sussex County Council, to bid on in order to retrofit older buses with pollution reducing equipment. That way we can yet further maximise the environmental benefits of travelling by bus.”
Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive at Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) said, “Biomethane from biogas is one of the few options for decarbonising heavy goods vehicles. Trials on biomethane vehicles have shown huge air quality and noise reduction benefits as well as the clear reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which come from using such an ultra low carbon fuel.”
(Sources: DfT, Minister Baker, ADBA)