New retrofit program will upgrade around 5,000 of London’s most polluting buses


In a bid to help improve the city’s air quality and comply with European legislation, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that the most polluting buses in the UK capital are going to be cleaned up, with their harmful emissions cut by up to 95%.

As the latest part of the Mayor’s bold plans to clean up the capital’s air, more than half of London’s entire bus fleet is to be upgraded to meet the latest ultra-low Euro VI emissions standard. Through the new £86.1m (US$111.4m) program, around 5,000 buses will be retrofitted with a new exhaust system that will significantly cut their emissions.

This will mean that by September 2020 the entire bus fleet will be at least Euro VI standard. Transport for London (TfL) will work with bus operators and five chosen suppliers to install the new bespoke exhaust systems that will reduce nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Diesel Particulate filters will also be installed alongside this selective catalytic reduction (SCR) equipment to reduce air pollution.

The retrofit program is the latest innovative measure from the Mayor as he cleans up the capital’s bus fleet. Currently 700-800 new low-emission buses are being introduced to the fleet every year, with diesel-only buses being phased out. From 2018, all new double-deck buses will be hybrid, electric or hydrogen. In addition, all buses within the central London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be Euro VI hybrid standard by 2019.

The Mayor set out in his recently-launched draft Transport Strategy that by 2037 at the latest, all 9,200 buses across London will be zero emission. London currently has the cleanest bus fleet of any major world city, with a third of the fleet running on B20 biodiesel, 2,500 hybrid buses, 71 electric buses, and eight hydrogen fuel cell buses.

“We know that pollution from our roads is a major contributor to London’s toxic air. That’s why we are working so hard to introduce new clean buses on our streets, and why we are continually looking for innovative ways to clean up the most polluting buses,” explained Khan. “There’s no doubt that by cutting the emissions of more than half of the fleet by up to 95%, this innovative retrofit program is going to make a huge difference to Londoners.”

Leon Daniels, TfL’s MD of surface transport, added, “Air pollution has reached unacceptable levels, and we are doing everything we can to tackle the problem.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).