Go-Ahead is set to deploy its so-called air filtering buses in six more regions around the UK this year after a successful trial in Southampton.
The transport operator is accelerating its shift toward greener technology with its pollutant-tackling buses that remove dirty particles from the air.
The single-decker buses are fitted with air filtering systems made up of three fans on its roof that induce ultra-fine particles and dirt into special filters.
The roll-out is scheduled for early summer and the air filtering buses will be deployed in Brighton, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Plymouth and Crawley/Gatwick.
There will also be five more of these Go-Ahead buses hitting the streets of Southampton from the start of next month, covering an entire city route.
It comes after a successful launch last year on the south coast, where tests showed a single bus was capable of removing as much as 65g of pollutants from the air over 100 days – the equivalent weight of a tennis ball.
It means the buses are able to clean up to 3.2m cubic metres of city air while driving passengers around.
Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director at Go North East, one of the Go-ahead companies who will operate the new buses said: “We know that improving air quality is a huge priority in Newcastle and Gateshead.
“Buses already make a positive contribution by proving low carbon journeys that take cars out of traffic jams. We are also investing in low-emission vehicles each year, and in the summer we’ll be taking delivery of our first batch of full electric zero emission buses.
“This innovation represents a further step that we are taking to contribute to cleaner air.”
David Brown, Go-Ahead Chief Executive, said: “We want to play our part in tackling the crisis in urban air quality and show that buses can be integral to cleaning up our cities.
“Our air-filtering system has exceeded all expectations in how it can benefit the environment, and it builds on our track-record as operator of the UK’s greenest bus fleet.
“We believe the Air Filtering Bus provides a ‘quick win’ for councils as they explore initiatives such as Clean Air Zones to tackle toxic pollution.”
Health problems associated with outdoor air pollution are linked to 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
In the UK, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates that particulate air pollution reduces the life expectancy of residents by six months on average.
And recent research suggested that living in an area with high pollution worsens your memory to the same extent as ageing ten years.
Professors at the University of Warwick looked at levels of the PM10 pollutant, which comes from exhaust fumes, degrading tyres, vehicle exhausts and domestic wood burners.
The Air Filtering Buses are designed to clean the air as they drive through a city, removing up to 99.5% per cent of particulate matter which travels through it.
It was initially deployed on one of the low-emission Euro VI buses run by Go-Ahead subsidiary Bluestar in Southampton.Go-Ahead is already the operator of one of Europe’s largest fleets of electric vehicles, which includes more than 200 buses.