Brighton & Hove’s reputation as the UK’s leading city in the fight against climate change is being evidenced in a very practical and visible way this autumn. Brighton & Hove Buses are introducing 30 new Enviro400ER extended range electric buses on its busy Route 5, which will produce zero emissions in the city’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), first introduced in January 2015.
The landmark commitment to greener transport was celebrated with an environmental bus tour allowing 60 lucky passengers, including environmental groups, local councillors, schoolchildren and journalists, to experience first-hand the UK’s first fleet of buses that can operate in zero-emissions mode whenever they travel through the city centre. The tour also covered a number of environmental ventures taking place around the city, including a visit to Dorothy Stringer School’s Eco School project, where Dr Dan Danahar spoke about their environmental management schemes, such as creating butterfly havens. Also on the tour was Moulsecoomb Forest Garden, which runs outdoor activities for people with learning disabilities and children struggling to excel in conventional classrooms.
Brighton & Hove Buses’ Managing Director Martin Harris said: “The tour marks the launch of our fleet of new buses and recognises the amazing environmental work happening in our city. It’s also about acknowledging that we’ll only be able to deal with this climate emergency if we work together.”
The buses, built in the UK by Alexander Dennis Ltd., use BAE Systems’ technology, and are fully electric – an electric motor drives the bus at all times. But they use a small onboard Euro 6 (the latest European emissions standard for all new vehicles) diesel generator for recharging the buses’ batteries when needed, fuelled additionally by regenerative braking.
They reduce emissions by as much as 80% nitrogen oxides and up to 50% particulate matter compared with Euro 5 buses.
What’s more, they reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30%, compared to a standard Euro 6 double-decker diesel bus.
THE BUSES IN NUMBERS
– Each bus costs around £370,000
– They offer a reduction of 20 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle per year
– Up to 24 Route 5 buses an hour run through the green zone
– There are 7.6 million passenger journeys every year on Route 5
– This equates to 133,104 emissions-free miles driven in the ULEZ each year
The new hybrid electric buses achieve zero emissions day and night through the centre of Brighton because they don’t need to recharge in the middle of the day. This keeps buses in service and eliminates the need for the city to have expensive and intrusive roadside charging stations. When it comes to improving air quality and congestion, buses are a crucial part of the solution.
The route covers areas including Hangleton, Hollingbury, Hove, Patcham and Preston Park, and the ULEZ covers Castle Square in the Old Steine, North Street, and Western Road as far as Palmeira Square.
The buses are set to become intrinsically linked with Brighton for residents and visitors alike. They bring to life the essence of the city through 60 bespoke local images that celebrate Brighton’s iconic landmarks, its people, diversity and vibrant spirit. Inside the buses are vital messages about the environment and highlight the sustainable benefits of choosing to travel to by bus.
“This is not a small investment or a token gesture,” said Mr Harris. “It’s a big statement and a big commitment to reaching our goal of having zero emissions in the city centre by 2030. What we’re investing in is the future of our city and the people who live here, work here and visit. We want our environment to be cleaner than the one we grew up in.”