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Major Updates

The four West of England authorities have worked with First Bristol Limited (FBL) to prepare a bid to the Low Emission Bus Scheme that seeks to achieve a step change in the local bus fleet operating services within the West of England, focussing on routes passing through Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).

The funding secured will enable FBL to introduce 110 new gas-powered buses to their fleet, as well as the fuelling infrastructure to accommodate another 40 gas-powered buses. The buses will operate using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) technology, achieving significant reductions in emissions compared to the 80 diesel (Euro 3) buses being replaced through this investment.  The remaining 30 buses will be additional to the existing FBL fleet and will be used to operate new services on the MetroBus network.

The project will result in over 40% of FBL’s bus fleet being low emission, with attendant benefits to local communities in Bristol, Kingswood, Staple Hill, and Keynsham, all of which contain designated AQMAs.  The buses will operate on routes where the maximum air quality benefits will be gained.

The bid will also develop fuel supply infrastructure to ensure that the buses can be efficiently re-fuelled with minimal dead mileage.  The fuelling equipment will be located at FBL’s Lawrence Hill depot, the base for the buses operating these services.  The equipment will have sufficient capacity to fuel a further 25 CNG-powered buses that FBL propose to procure to operate additional MetroBus services once the scheme fully commences.

The fuelling station would be open to other bus operators, road hauliers and public sector fleets to re-fuel their CNG-powered vehicles at Lawrence Hill between 8 am and 5 pm on weekdays, thereby removing a potential barrier to those considering CNG as a fuel for LEVs in the West of England by providing a local fuelling station.

In total, £4.4 million is sought, which will unlock investment of £26 million by FBL.

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