Bus operator all set for March 15 introduction of CAZ

First has used a combination of new buses and retrofit technology to existing vehicles to comply with the Bath scheme

Bath’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) comes into operation on March 15 and local bus operator First West of England is working towards ensuring its fleet is compliant with the new rules through a combination of new buses and retrofit technology to existing vehicles.

The city’s CAZ is the first to be introduced outside of London. All non-compliant trucks, vans, coaches and buses (but not private cars and motorcycles) will be charged to drive into the historic city centre.

First has been working closely with Bath and North East Somerset Council to ensure that it continues to provide customers with a reliable service throughout the city while complying with the new legislation.

This programme has been possible due to government funding and the technical support for the process has been provided by Energy Saving Trust.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to make our buses as environmentally friendly as they can be for the communities we serve,” said John Dowie, First Bus strategy director.

“We estimate that each retrofit reduces air pollutants and harmful emissions by up to 95%, and this makes a considerable positive impact to air quality for our towns and cities. Bus services will be a fundamental part of economic recovery as the UK starts to emerge from the pandemic.”

Across the UK, First Bus now has over 1,000 vehicles fitted with new exhaust systems and e-Fans to comply with Euro 6 emission requirements. It’s part of its commitment to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035, and a pledge not to purchase any new diesel buses after December 2022.

In the past 12 months First Bus has introduced several new bus models powered by diesel alternatives to their UK fleet. These include hydrogen-powered, electric and (locally in Bristol) bio-methane powered buses.

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