OXFORD’S buses for tourists are getting greener, thanks to a re-fit costing about £200,000.
The city’s Guide Friday City Sightseeing buses have been fitted with clean exhaust technologies to reduce harmful emissions.
It means the 11 buses in the fleet will meet the requirements of the low emission zone which Oxford City Council introduced in January to encourage environmentally-friendly vehicles.
Jane Marshall, general manager of City Sightseeing Oxford, said: “We have been looking at the various possibilities open to us since the LEZ was proposed in 2006 and have been looking for a company who could retro-fit our differing vehicles to the required standard.
“Our expectations have been exceeded, with reduction levels being higher than anticipated and we now have some of the cleanest traditionally powered buses in the city, something to be very proud of.
“We were always going to make the changes but were grateful for the funding which has helped us to invest in our buses so that we can continue our operation as a leading tourist attraction in Oxford.”
Oxford city centre has long had a problem with pollution.
Nitrogen dioxide levels in particular have not fallen below the European Union target.
On Saturday the Oxford Mail reported how air pollution was responsible for 276 deaths in the county in 2010, according to Public Health England.
All local bus services within the streets affected by the LEZ must now be operated exclusively by buses whose engines meet the Euro V emission standard.
The tour buses, operated by Tom Tappin Ltd, have had the pollution-reducing technology installed thanks to a grant of £199,995 from the Department of Transport’s Clean Bus Technology Fund.
The city council was one of 16 local authorities to have been given a share of more than £6m from the fund in 2013.
Labour city councillor John Tanner, executive board member for cleaner, greener Oxford, said: “This is another positive step towards improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.
“I’m thrilled to see sightseeing buses becoming more environmentally-friendly.”