The Award will be presented to the scheme which, in the opinion of the judges, constitutes the best contribution by a bus operator, authority, manufacturer or any group or individual within those organisations to one or more of the following:
- Further improving the environmental friendliness of the bus
- Improving the environment in which buses operate
- Improving the environment for bus users and potential users.
For the avoidance of doubt, environmental benefits in the context of this award are defined as:
- Changes to noise levels
- Changes to vehicle emissions, either in total or in the chemical content which would be less harmful to either public health or in reducing contributions to global warming
- Changes to air quality in specific areas (for example, depots, terminals or other places where vehicles and humans interact), including local authority designated Air Quality Management Areas.
- A reduction in waste products or in the environmental effects of waste products.
- Improved energy efficiency in either premises or on the road
FirstGroup plc, Small Changes, Big Difference
FirstGroup’s environmental campaign ‘Small Changes, Big Difference’ aims to get staff involved in waste recycling and energy conservation initiatives. The campaign includes incentives, league tables, extensive communication and face-to-face training as the means by which its objectives can be achieved. Examples of its success include waste recycling increasing by 10% across First UK Bus and 7% less electricity being used in bus depots compared to 2010/11. As a consequence, FirstGroup achieved the Carbon Trust Standard. The judges were impressed at how the company was seeking to involve staff at all levels to think about how even the smallest of actions can make a contribution to improving the environment.
Joint Runner Up
Reading Buses, Hybrid Power
With a track record of environmental initiatives over many years, Reading Buses has a strong commitment to greener travel. Looking for new cleaner vehicles led to a major investment in thirty-one diesel-electric hybrid buses (one-third of its double-deck fleet) and the rebranding of some of its busiest corridors. This brought a significant increase in awareness of environmental issues locally and a major saving in fossil fuel consumption, as well as a reduction in the company’s carbon footprint and noise pollution in some sensitive areas. Whilst hybrid buses have progressively become more reliable and successful, the judges praised Reading Buses for its brave decision to make such a substantial investment in the new technology in the interests of improving the environment of the areas in which the company operates.
Joint Runner Up
Stagecoach East Midlands and Lincolnshire County Council, Lincoln Biobuses
Stagecoach, Lincolnshire County Council and EMDA worked together to convert eleven Optare Solo minibuses to run on a mix of diesel and biomethane, sourced from the anerobic digestion of food and animal waste. The BioBuses have saved over 170 tonnes of carbon, improved air quality in the sensitive Lincoln Cathedral Quarter and grown year-on-year passenger numbers by 10%, as well as highlighting the importance of environmental issues locally, and have shown that biomethane is a suitable fuel for bus operation more widely across the industry.
The concept of a low-cost experiment using converted older buses to evaluate the technology, whilst still offering all the accessibility and marketing expected of a modern transport system, particularly appealed to the judges.
Stagecoach South West, Green Champions
Stagecoach as a group is committed to ‘greener, smarter travel’, both through the buses it operates and the infrastructure that supports them. Over the last twelve months, Stagecoach South West has made significant investment in the latest buses for its fleet and actively pursued an energy management programme across all its depots. Through a variety of initiatives driven by its ‘Green Team’ representing staff from all parts of the company, amongst its successes is a 17.9% year-on-year reduction in its CO2 emissions. This judges felt that this was another excellent example of how, in addition to financial investment in more sustainable vehicles and other physical initiatives, bus companies are now involving staff at all levels in taking action to improve the environment.
Volvo Bus, B5L Hybrid Project
Rising fuel costs have become a significant burden for bus operators. In addition, the industry needs to demonstrate that it is the environmentally-friendly alternative to the car.
Whilst diesel-electric hybrid buses are now offered by most major manufacturers, the Volvo B5L uses the Parallel Hybrid System where both the diesel engine and the electric motor can drive the vehicle in mixed mode, each ranging from zero to 100% power. The parallel system also requires just one electric source, the motor doubling as the generator when recharging the battery, reducing weight and complexity. The judges felt that the Volvo project was an excellent example of how the major vehicle manufacturers are now developing products which help emphasise the underlying green credentials of the bus industry.
Who could be nominated?
This category was open to industry suppliers, operators and authorities either separately or in conjunction with one another.
… and by whom?
Nominations were welcomed from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination is acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
Decisions were based on the quality of the submissions made and the extent to which they address the criteria. Nominations were therefore required to provide information on:
- The nature of the project(s) and its intended effect on the environmental impact of the bus
- The extent of technological innovation
- Where the nomination concerns a new product or service, the extent of its commercial success
- Deliverability on an industry-wide basis (this would include the practicality and affordability of the idea).
- Where the nomination concerns a new product, the degree to which the product has proved reliable in everyday service and delivered the benefits intended.
- The extent to which customer and market research was employed in the development of the product
- The involvement of other partners in the industry in the development of the project or product.
Products or services entered for consideration did not necessarily have to be exclusive to the bus industry, but entrants needed to demonstrate that their product or service had widespread application within the industry.