Better buses bring breath of fresh air

Press Release: 15/02/2005

Major changes have been introduced on Winchester's buses to help improve air quality in the City centre.

The steps have been taken by Stagecoach in partnership with the MIRACLES Project run by Hampshire County Council to support the work of Winchester City Council to reduce emissions from the Winchester bus fleet.

Park and Ride buses have been fitted with new exhaust systems to remove pollution levels, while ten of the older single deck buses have been given a new lease of life by fitting the latest engines which have the same low emissions as the newest buses in the UK.

In order to get the maximum benefit from the latest improvement, Park and Ride buses usually only seen in the town centre Mondays to Saturdays will be used on Sundays as far and wide as Andover, Basingstoke, Bishops Waltham and Portsmouth. This will ensure that the new pollution-busting buses will be operating at peak efficiency when they are used on the lower speed routes around the City.

Welcoming the latest initiative, Cllr Jim Wagner, the City Council's Cabinet portfolio holder for environmental health said the Council has a statutory duty to improve air quality in Winchester town centre and these changes to the Stagecoach fleet should make a significant contribution to that effort.

"It will also give our excellent Park and Ride service higher visibility outside of its normal operating area, encouraging people to use the service when they come into the city," he added.

Winchester City Council has published a Draft Air Quality Action Plan containing 32 suggested actions to improve air quality over the next few years. Residents and organisations are being asked to comment on the draft. Anyone wishing to receive a copy of the Action Plan summary or full action plan document should ring 01962 848488 or visit the Council's website at www.winchester.gov.uk

Residents have until 28 February to comment on the plan before it is revised and then submitted to Government for approval in May.