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Bristol gets funding for 100 biomethane fuelled buses

River Avon from a balloon, Bristol
River Avon from a balloon, Bristol

A fleet of more than 100 low-emission biomethane powered buses could take to the streets of the Bristol region in the UK over the next few years, following the award of a multi-million pound government grant.

In August, a biomethane fuelled double-decker went into service in Bristol, part of a ’pathfinder’ exercise by local bus operator First West of England to assess how well the biogas vehicle coped with operations in the city. Among other things, the initiative aims to assess how the double-decker affects refuelling and maintenance operations.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, has welcomed the new £4.79 million (€5.16 million) fund from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, which is intended to help First West of England unlock a £28 million (€30.13 million) investment into biomethane powered buses.

The addition of the new biomethane buses would mean over half of First West of England’s Bristol fleet would be low emission or low carbon. The low emission vehicles are intended to improve local air quality in a city that is facing increasing congestion challenges.

“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,” said Rees in a statement.

“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 new buses could start running by 2019, and will operate in locations where the most benefit will be gained in reducing pollution, such as Bristol city centre. The newly secured government funding will help introduce 110 new buses. 

River Avon from a balloon, Bristol