Successful funding bid will bring cleaner buses to Tyneside

Extra money to reduce harmful pollution from buses operating in Tyneside has been announced.

Newcastle City Council has successfully bid for additional cash from the government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund.

The city council has been awarded £379,600, which will be used to fit new engine technology to 23 vehicles. This is in addition to £690,000 which was awarded last year, allowing the upgrade of 43 buses.

It means bus passengers, other road users and people living on the affected bus routes will benefit from cleaner air.

Cllr Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality at Newcastle City Council, said: “Road transport is a major cause of poor air quality, which is harmful to our health and our environment.

“One of the ways in which we can address this is by encouraging more people to use public transport, instead of taking the car.

“This funding means that we can help to ensure that more of the buses people use are cleaner vehicles.”

A joint consultation on proposed measures to tackle poor air quality is currently being held by councils in Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside.

The three areas are among a number of local authorities across the country to have been required by government to identify measures to improve air quality in the shortest possible time.

The government has confirmed that Gateshead Council was also successful in getting an additional £230,750 from the Clean Bus Technology Fund, which will see 13 vehicles upgraded.

South Tyneside Council has also been awarded £133,952 from the fund, which will help to reduce harmful engine emissions from 8 buses.

The funding bids were supported by Nexus and the North East Joint Transport Committee.

Tobyn Hughes, managing director of Nexus, said: “This is of significant benefit to the thousands of bus passengers and others using busy roads that suffer from poor air quality. It is an example of the region’s commitment to clean up the quality of our air.

“The £744,000 we have achieved across the region this year adds to previously successful bids, meaning we have secured grants to clean up nearly 300 buses operating across the North East as part of wider efforts to improve air quality.”

Bus companies will be able to use the money awarded to buy the new technology to be fitted to their vehicles over the next 12 months.

The consultation on measures to tackle poor air quality in Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside will run until 17 May 2019.

People can take part at www.breathe-cleanair.com.

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