Scottish Government to help operators comply with LEZs

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Up to £5.7m of funding is to be made available to Scottish operators in the latest round of retrofit funding

The Scottish Government has announced that following the success of phases 1-3 of its Bus Emissions Abatement Retrofit (BEAR) programme, which saw 762 buses and coaches converted to Euro VI standard in Scottish Air Quality Management Areas between 2018 and 2021, applications are open again to operators for the latest round of funding. It is providing up to £5.7 million to help coach, bus and community transport operators to comply with low emission zones (LEZs) through retrofitting technology. The fourth round of the programme will continue to support the costs of installing selective catalytic reduction technology to reduce diesel emissions or to convert buses to electric drivetrains.

The three previous rounds of funding provided £12.2 million to retrofit the 762 buses to meet required emissions standards. Working in partnership with accredited technology providers, Transport Scotland says it will continue to monitor the air quality performance of retrofitted buses to ensure they perform as expected.

Successful applicants will be able to access grant funding from Transport Scotland towards both primary and ancillary costs up to a maximum of £1,995,000 per bidder. To be eligible for the funding, which extends to coaches and buses, the vehicle most be operated under a PSV operator’s licence or used for voluntary, community or other non-profit making purpose, be less than 13 years old at time of application and conform to Euro IV or V emission standards from the factory.

Scottish Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said: “To protect public health and improve air quality, we’re continuing to support the introduction of low emission zones across Scotland.

“Each fully occupied bus in our towns and cities can remove the equivalent of 75 cars from the road. It’s for this reason that choosing
bus is already a positive choice for air quality – and even more so if that bus is retrofitted to meet emissions standards. Scotland has good air quality, but for the oldest and youngest in our society and those with existing health conditions, air quality remains an issue. It is critical that we have LEZs introduced in our four biggest cities by 2022, and this support is another way we’re helping bus, coach and community transport providers to comply with forthcoming emissions standards.”

Stevie More, Engineering Director at Lothian Buses said: “Lothian is fully committed to improving air quality across all our operations in Edinburgh and the Lothians, in line with the Scottish Government’s ambition to have the best air quality in Europe. This announcement from the Scottish Government of a further round of BEAR funding is welcomed by the industry as we all strive to meet the Low Emission Zone targets across Scotland.”

BEAR Phase 4 funding of up to £5.7 million is available in the 2021/22 financial year to help operators upgrade their fleets to Euro VI emissions standards. JONATHAN WELCH