The Liberal Democrats have plans to introduce a bus scrappage scheme similar to that for cars, which ended a few months ago. Bus operators will be able to access a fund to help them trade in older, more polluting buses for newer, low emissions ones that are quieter, cleaner and better for passengers and the environment.
Currently, bus operators are not required to scrap older and polluting buses even though this is essential to reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality and passenger experience.
Transport is a large source of pollution; the principal source of particulate matter in cities is road traffic emissions. Diesel engines contribute particularly to poor air quality and this can have serious implications for public health. Beyond respiratory complications that poor air quality causes, some studies around the world have suggested links between high pollution and increased rates of cancer. British cities suffer some of the worst air quality in Europe with London and Manchester among the worst offenders.
Our plans propose allocating £140 million to a bus scrappage scheme which would not only get polluting vehicles off the roads but also secure around 4,500 jobs in manufacturing the new buses. Bus operators will be invited to bid for grants and they will be assessed on a number of criteria. Along with existing schemes, this plan could mean around 2,000 new buses on our streets. New buses use around 30% less fuel and produce nearly a third less carbon than an equivalent conventional bus.
This plan forms part of our economic stimulus and job creation package which focuses on creating jobs in areas that are sustainable and contribute to pollution reduction.
* The UK was in breach of EU air pollution targets in the following cities last year: Bristol, Cambridge, Sandy, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Bury, Aberdeen, Oxford, Bath, Birmingham and Leeds.