News

Air quality award for ambitious low emission bus plan


Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has won a top national award for a low emission bus scheme designed to improve the region’s air quality.

The West Midlands Low Emission Bus Delivery Plan, launched in the summer, won first prize for ‘Passenger Transport Project of the Year’ award at the National Air Quality Awards.

Judges recognised the plan as being industry leading, with particular emphasis on TfWM’s partnership approach with bus operators and district authorities.

Caption: (l-r) Steve Eminton, editor Air Quality News, Vic Duddy, NXWM, Steve Hayes TfWM, Celine Cluzel, consultants Element Energy and Andrew Chen from award sponsors Heathrow Airport
Caption: (l-r) Steve Eminton, editor Air Quality News, Vic Duddy, NXWM, Steve Hayes TfWM, Celine Cluzel, consultants Element Energy and Andrew Chen from award sponsors Heathrow Airport

They praised that multi-organisational buy-in as a real strength of the submission, which was initially commissioned last year by Centro, now TfWM, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The Low Emission Bus Delivery Plan was developed by TfWM to set out ambitions for delivering low emission buses to help address the region’s significant air quality problems.

It highlights areas where use of low emission buses should be prioritised – by identifying air quality hot-spots - and sets out a timeline for reducing emissions of nitrous oxides by over 90% by 2035.

The plan has already formed the basis of three successful funding bids and by demonstrating a commitment to improving air quality in the region, it will support many more bids and give bus operators confidence to invest.

Cllr Richard Worrall, chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority transport delivery committee, said: “This is testament to the work of our team and the whole Bus Alliance, for which tackling air quality is a key objective.

“This recognition can only further our ambitions to continue to clean up the region’s bus fleet and continue to secure funding to support this aim.”

The West Midlands Bus Alliance is a collaboration of local councils and local bus operators, co-ordinated by TfWM and committed to ensuring all buses in the region are a minimum of Euro V, which is one of the least polluting diesel engines available, by 2020.

Poor air quality is a major issue in the West Midlands, with much of the region designated an Air Quality Management Area and an estimated 1500 premature deaths in the region each year due to road transport emissions.  

The West Midlands has 49 electric-diesel hybrids and three electric buses operating, supported by successive Government Green Bus funding.  

Now in their second year, the awards are decided by industry experts from across the sector. 

Judge Claire Holman, chair of the IAQM, said: “I was a judge both last year and this year and I am very pleased that both the quality and quantity of applications has gone up.

“I was particularly pleased to see the diverse interest from local authorities and businesses, all seeking acknowledgment for their very different contributions to cleaner air.”