The Scottish Government has awarded a further £6.2 million in grants to 20 Scottish coach and bus operators to help with the financial costs associated with engine and exhaust retrofitting.
The fourth round of the Bus Emission Abatement Retrofit fund (BEAR) will see 379 older coaches and buses adapted to achieve the Euro VI emission standards, through the installation of accredited retrofit technology. This brings the total number of mid-life coaches and buses to be upgraded via the scheme to over 1,000.
Scottish businesses which specialise in exhaust retrofitting are also set to benefit – helping to drive a green recovery out of the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst improving air quality and supporting the Government’s commitment to introduce Low Emission Zones in Scotland’s four biggest cities. Low Emission Zones (LEZs) will be introduced in mid-2022 in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The Bus Emissions Abatement Retrofit (BEAR) programme aims to fit buses/coaches with Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) accredited retrofit technology measures to support the delivery of Scotland’s Low Emission Zones (LEZs).
The previous three BEAR funding rounds provided £12.4 million to support the costs of retrofitting 762 buses and coaches from 2018 to 2021.
In addition, the Low Emission Zone Support Fund launched in Sept 2020 provides funds targeted at lower income households and smaller businesses for the disposal or retrofitting of non-LEZ compliant vehicles. This awarded £1.7 million in grants in 2020-21 and currently over £2.5m in grants in 2021-22. Over 1,000 non-LEZ compliant vehicles have been disposed of since the fund opened.
Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said: “Buses will have a key role to play in our world-leading ambition to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030 – but of course, they must be up to the challenge. This additional funding to retrofit mid-life buses adds to the £12.4 million we have invested through the BEAR programme in the previous three rounds, helping to support the delivery of Scotland’s Low Emission Zones.
“We all want our air quality to be the best in Europe, but for the oldest and youngest in our society and those with existing health conditions, air quality remains an issue. We will introduce LEZs in our four biggest cities next year and this fund will continue to help support our ambition to protect public health and improve our air quality.”