Plans have been tabled to ensure one in five bus journeys in Aberdeen is green by the end of the year.
Aberdeen City Council is one of four Scottish cities which will introduce a low emission zone, which may include high-polluting cars being banned from the city centre.
To demonstrate its commitment to the idea of making roads greener, the council is considering if it should apply to the Traffic Commissioner for a traffic regulation condition, which would compel bus companies to ensure 20% of bus journeys in the city apply to “Euro 6” standards. This includes electric and hydrogen-powered buses.
This would ensure buses on those journeys use engines that emit low levels of harmful chemicals into the air.
Members of the council’s city growth and resources committee will vote on the proposal at a meeting on Thursday.
A new report to the committee said: “An initial focus on reducing emissions associated with bus movements within the city-centre would achieve the quickest improvements. It would bring air quality benefits almost immediately.”
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The council’s aim would then be to increase the number of vehicles of all types complying with Euro 6 standards before introducing the low-emission zone from 2023.
It added that the council met with Stagecoach and First Aberdeen representatives in January who “intimated a desire to work in partnership with the council to improve air quality but did raise points of concern which will require further consideration.”
The committee’s convenor, councillor Douglas Lumsden, said: “This would be an important first step towards a low emission zone. We will continue to make the city cleaner, greener and safer.”
First Aberdeen managing director Andrew Jarvis said: “We welcome measures to improve local air quality on key city streets in Aberdeen, but unfairly targeting bus operators and their customers ahead of any other mode is simply wrong.”
A Stagecoach Bluebird spokeswoman said: “Buses are a key solution when it comes to improving air quality and we will look forward to discussing these proposals further with council officials.”