World’s largest emissions-busting bus retrofit scheme completed 25 July 2014

More than 1,000 older buses on London's routes have now been fitted with equipment that removes 90% of NOx emissions, marking the conclusion of the world's biggest emissions busting retrofit scheme.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) are now exploring plans to expand the programme with the DfT (Department for Transport).

The £10m project – which was funded by TfL and DfT, and involved fitting SCR (selective catalytic reduction) units to bus exhaust lines – has already delivered air quality benefits to 102 of the 187 NOx focus areas identified by the Mayor.

According to one report, commissioned by Wandsworth Council and published by King's College London, since fitting SCR there has been a major reduction in NOx levels exceeding the EU's hourly target on Putney High Street.

"Fitting this innovative equipment to older buses in our fleet is making a significant contribution to improving London's air quality and complements other measures we are taking [with] our 8,700-strong bus fleet," states Mike Weston, TfL's director of buses.

"Retrofitting buses with SCR equipment is the quickest and most cost-effective way to cut NOx emissions from the exhaust systems of older buses – and the results from Putney High Street show it's having a significant impact," he continues.

"Combined with the roll out of new hybrid buses – including the New Routemaster – and the early introduction of Euro 6 buses, the retrofit programme has led to significant improvements in emissions throughout London."

And Matthew Pencharz, Boris Johnson's senior advisor for environment and energy, adds: "As London gears up for the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone from 2020 this positive trend is set to continue."

London already has the largest hybrid bus fleet in Europe, with over 850 hybrid buses currently in service. By 2016, there will be 1,700 hybrid buses on London's roads, of which 600 will be New Routemasters.

All buses already achieve Euro 4 standard for particulate matter (PM) and, as a result, PM emissions have dropped from over 200 tonnes in 1997 to 20 tonnes this year.

The remaining Euro 3 buses will be fitted with SCR equipment or replaced with new cleaner Euro 6 vehicles, meaning that TfL's fleet will be Euro 4 or better for NOx by the end of 2015.

This will further reduce NOx emissions by an estimated 800 tonnes each year.

The New Routemaster is already claimed to be the greenest bus of its class in the world and is now set to get even greener with the introduction of Euro 6 engines.

Four New Routemasters with Euro 6 engines are currently being tested in passenger service, with the wider introduction starting later this year.

Author
Brian Tinham

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