More than 1,000 local authority vehicles in the UK will be greener, including taxis, ambulances and fire engines, as the government announces those councils that placed successful bids for the Clean Vehicle Technology Fund (CVTF).
For the first time, the £5 million fund was opened to a wider range of public service vehicles, as previous funding rounds focused on improving the emissions produced by buses.
This latest round of bids has seen 17 local councils win funding for 1,080 vehicles to be retrofitted with a variety of technology.
The Department for Transport has also announced it will allocate an additional £50,000 on top to help those authorities monitor the results of the retrofit projects.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer, said, “The £5 million Clean Vehicle Technology Fund means councils can now lead the way on introducing greener vehicles on their local streets. We received imaginative applications from local authorities from across England for vehicles including buses, taxis, vans, fire engines and ambulances. All the schemes will lower emissions in busy towns and cities.”
The Greater London Authority has requested £500,000 to retrofit selective catalytic converters to 400 Euro-3 buses, and is also looking into the viability of fitting a similar device on fire engines.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service will receive £166,000 worth of funding which it plans to invest in solar panel roofs fitted to 175 rapid response vehicles. It says the reason to invest in solar technology is purely down to keeping the vital battery system on the vehicles topped up, without the need to leave the engine running.
Birmingham City Council and Reading Borough Council are targeting taxis, with Birmingham opting to equip its 80 cabs with Liquid Petroleum Gas systems, and Reading choosing the Compressed Natural Gas and diesel dual fuel conversions for 113 of its vehicles.
On the back of recent news that Oxford Bus will be using a flywheel hybrid system on its ADL Enviro400 Brookesbus network, both Southampton and Newcastle City Councils will invest in similar technology. The south coast project will see 23 buses benefit from this system on the Unilink route, while on Tyneside, 30 buses travelling on two routes, between Newcastle and Tyneside and Northumberland and Sunderland, will benefit from a kinetic energy recovery system.
The 2014 CVTF was designed to build on the success of the Clean Bus Technology Fund, which saw more than 500 buses from 26 local authorities retrofitted with emission lowering technology as part of £7.3 million government investment.