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Mayor of Bristol welcomes funding to support over 100 new low-emission buses

A fleet of more than 100 new low-emission buses powered by gas (bio-methane) could be introduced to the Bristol region in the next few years after a multi-million pound government grant was secured.

The Mayor of Bristol has welcomed the £4.79m fund from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, which is designed to help unlock a £28m investment by First West of England to potentially transform a significant part of their fleet into bio-methane powered buses. Alongside historic investment, the additional buses would mean that over half of First West of England’s Bristol fleet would be low emission or low carbon.

The new buses, which could start running by 2019, will help Bristol make progress in reducing harmful air pollution to meet legal limits and will operate in locations where the most benefit will be gained in reducing pollution, including the city centre area, Staple Hill and other neighbouring authority routes.

The funding will help introduce 110 new gas powered buses, 30 of which will be introduced into MetroBus services.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“I’m delighted that the Bristol area has once again been successful in securing essential transport funding and this grant has the potential to unlock millions to clean up our bus fleets and improve the quality of life for our residents and visitors.

“To improve the flow of people across the region, we must work together with other authorities and private operators like First, to transform our transport network and we are making good progress. I’m grateful to First for their commitment to delivering more low-emission vehicles and by doing so, helping us tackle unacceptable levels of pollution in Bristol.”

The announcement follows the launch of the first double decker bio-gas bus in Bristol earlier this month.

Cllr Mhairi Threlfall, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:

“This is an exciting step forward for everyone living and working around the Bristol area and yet another example of our strong local authority partnerships levering funding for much-needed transport improvements.

“We are looking forward to working with First and our neighbours to unlock the investment needed to operate and manage a new fleet of buses using innovative technology.”

The grant was submitted to government by the West of England councils (Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, and North Somerset) and First, and formally led by South Gloucestershire Council.