Nottingham City Transport bids for Government funding for £25.5m project to introduce 82 gas double deckers to the city
The city’s award-winning principal bus operator, Nottingham City Transport, is working in partnership with Nottingham City Council to launch a 3-year project which could see Nottingham become the UK’s ‘greenest’ city for public transport.
Nottingham City Transport has applied for a £6.5m grant from the OLEV Low Emission Bus Scheme to complement a £19m investment being made by NCT in order to introduce 82 bio-gas double deckers to the fleet over 3 years from October 2016.
“Gas buses have much less of an impact on the environment compared to the diesel buses we would normally buy,” explains Nottingham City Transport Marketing Manager, Anthony Carver-Smith. “Nitrogen Oxides are lower, as are the sooty particulates emitted, and as we will be using bio-gas, the carbon footprint is incredibly low. This really is a fantastic project that will support the wider efforts and investment made by Nottingham City Council to introduce low emission vehicles to the city.”
DEFRA – The Department for Environment, Foodand Rural Affairs – recommended the Nottingham Urban Area needed to consider low emission zones and vehicles to reduce emissions and improve air quality. The introduction of the bio-gas buses will support these aims, building on the electric buses, the tram and the City Council’s ambitions to introduce electric taxis and new charging points for electric cars.
Councillor Nick McDonald, Nottingham City Council's Portfolio Holder for Jobs, Growth and Transport said: “The City Council and Nottingham City Transport are very excited about this low carbon bus service proposal. It shows our combined ambition to deliver greener and cleaner transport for Nottingham. It will complement our other bids for funding to deliver electric vehicle charging infrastructure and electric taxis, which will improve Nottingham’s air quality, reduce carbon emissions and make the city environment more attractive for residents, businesses and visitors.”
OLEV, or The Office for Low Emission Vehicles, is a team working across Government to support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV). It is providing over £900million to position the UK at the global forefront of ULEV development, manufacture and use. This will contribute to economic growth and will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution on UK roads. If approved, the £6.5m NCT has applied for will contribute towards the cost of each bus and the infrastructure cost of installing gas fuelling facilities at NCT’s Parliament Street Garage.
“The new gas buses are likely to be the very first gas double deckers in the UK, which is hugely exciting,” adds Anthony Carver-Smith. “They’ll be ADL Scania buses, so they’ll be of the highest quality and using gas buses will enable our customers to reach the heart of the City on one of the cleanest modes of transport available”.
The Scania chassis for each bus will be assembled in Leyland in Lancashire ahead of the bodying by Alexander Dennis in Scotland. Nottingham based company, Roadgas in Colwick, will supply the infrastructure.
This £25.5m project, rolled out over 3 years, will replace a quarter of NCT’s current fleet, and it’s estimated that there will be 75 million kilograms less Co2 emitted over the lifetime of the vehicles compared to conventional diesel buses. By 2020 Nottingham’s current UK Bus Operator of the Year will aim for every bus to have either a Euro 5 environmentally-friendly engine or be gas-powered, creating one of the lowest-emission fleets in the UK.
A kilogramme of bio-methane gas will be injected into the national gas grid for every kilogramme of gas used by each new bus in the fleet. As such, the entire operation will also qualify for carbon-neutral status.
“Our gas double deckers will be quieter, smoother, and of course cleaner,” says Anthony Carver-Smith. “Every business has a responsibility to do what it can to protect the environment for future generations, so we’ll also be supporting other local businesses to use gas by allowing third parties to use the gas filling station at our depot.”
Councillor Nick McDonald adds, “Providing an integrated, efficient, cost-effective public transport system that has a minimum impact on the environment is vital for the city’s future prosperity and growth. This is a project that will see Nottingham leading the way in the UK and we’re confident other cities will soon follow our example.”
The funding decision will be made by OLEV in January 2016, with the first gas buses on the road by October the same year.