ABD: End Buses' 'Protected Status' on Pollution
Drivers lobby group Alliance of British Drivers is calling for tougher action on the long standing issue of disproportionately high emissions from buses. 1
Evidence from Transport for London (TfL) contained within the latest Environmental Audit Report found that buses constituted 0.2% of vehicles but emit 25% of NOx 2
Legislating authorities have had an ongoing opportunity to stipulate minimum emissions standards for buses but have failed to do so 3
. However, recommendations from the report to Local Authorities and bus providers are shockingly weak and inadequate, effectively a 'renewal of bus provider's licence to pollute'.4
The ABD are calling for:
- Comparable per km emissions figures to cars to be published for buses and taxis.
- The compulsory fitting of exhaust filters to all buses (to be funded by bus companies rather than the tax payer)
- An end to congestion-creating urban transport policies that exacerbate emissions.
ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries said:
“For almost two decades, Local Authorities have used "Smart Travel" programs to encourage people to use buses and boost their revenues from parking charges 5, as well as attempts to implement work place parking and congestion charges all aimed at car drivers. Effectively they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.”
‘Bus services receive £2.3Bn per annum in subsidies 6, are being out performed by most new cars in terms of Co2 per passenger 7 and require disproportionate amounts of road space including bus lanes needed to help them run on schedule. This creates unnecessary congestion and extra emissions from other traffic. Bus providers have exploited this "sustainable transport" misnomer to put profits before people and do the bare minimum to reduce their bus emissions 8.’
If we are serious about reducing air pollution then tackling emissions from heavy diesels has to be the priority. The ABD believes however that political lobby groups and local authorities will continue to scapegoat the car driver to protect vested interests and protect revenue streams.
Unfiltered large capacity Diesel engines used by buses and HGV's when under load (eg pulling away from a standstill) are also the source of the 3-NBA (3-NitroBenzAnthrone)/ 1,2 DNP (1,2-DiNitroPyrene). These highly carcinogenic substances are found in & on PM10s & PM2.5s that these vehicles disproportionately emit.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Environmental Audit report
- Independent — Oxford Street
MEN — Bus pollution nightmare
- From the EA report "Public road transport is dominated by heavy diesel vehicles with very high mileage punctuated by frequent stops and starts. It is responsible for a disproportionate amount of emissions, particularly of nitrogen dioxide. Transport for London noted that its buses account for 0.2% of London vehicles but are the source of 25% of NOx emitted by vehicles in the city."
- From the EA report: - Mike Galey of the Environmental Industries Commission believed that local authorities could "insist that [bus companies] meet certain environmental standards, but precious few of them do that"
- Recommendations from EA report - "The Government should identify best practice in managing bus fleet pollution and provide local transport authorities with advice on how this issue can be addressed when putting out bus route tenders for contract. The Government should also put an emphasis on tackling pollutants as well as carbon emissions in its Green Bus Fund and the Clean Vehicle Technology Fund when helping to meet the costs of upgrading vehicles."
- Daily Mail — Councils raking parking profit
- The overall net level of Government subsidy (i.e. public transport support, BSOG and concessionary fare reimbursement) for bus services increased dramatically after 1997, rising from approximately £763,000 in 1997/98 to approximately £2.3 billion in 2011/12. Subsidies account for around 45 per cent of all bus operators' revenues.
- An FOI request to TfL revealed that a "fairly typical Euro III double deck with a diesel
particulate filter produces 1384.3 grams per kilometre." At the average UK bus ridership of 9 this gives 153.8g per passenger km more them most new cars.
- from the EA report:- ‘Sheffield City Council estimated that if all the buses and taxis within the city were Euro VI or equivalent there would be a 19% reduction in NOx emissions. Bus operators told us, however, that meeting Euro VI standards would drive up their costs. Mike Galey of the Environmental Industries Commission told us that retrofitting a bus to bring it close to Euro VI would cost about £10,000. Some urban councils (e.g. Bristol and Edinburgh) have retrofitted buses with assistance from Government funding schemes, including the £89 million Green Bus Fund. Sheffield City Council wanted the Government to also help with continuing higher maintenance costs, which could be up to £1,000 a year.’
Notes for Editors about the ABD
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