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.
Joint Winner, Gold Award
Electrification of Park and Ride Services – Nottingham City Council
At the end of January this year, Nottingham City Council’s (NCC) Park & Ride services were electrified with the introduction of long-range battery electric buses, replacing the diesel vehicles which previously operated the routes. This was the latest phase of the Council’s Electric Bus Project and involved the purchasing and deployment of 13 long-range electric buses for its Ecolink and Centrelink Park & Ride services, using funding from the Green Bus Fund and NCC’s Workplace Parking Levy. A base to charge and house the vehicles was constructed at the Queen’s Drive Park & Ride site, funded by grants from European REMOurban and OLEV. After only a few months, results show significant reductions in carbon emissions and other pollutants. Furthermore, cost savings on fuel and servicing has enabled the Council to fully maintain it’s contracted bus network, while the zero emission technology supports the aspirations for a local improvement in air quality standards and a Clean Air Zone in the city centre by 2020.
The judges were very impressed with what is believed to be the largest electric bus operation outside London. They also noted that this was partly funded by what is thought to be the only local authority work place perking levy in the UK. These pioneering approaches pushed the entry ahead of the others making it a joint Gold Winner in this category.
Joint Winner, Gold Award
Electric Buses – Go-Ahead London
The need to improve air quality in the capital is immediate, not least because it contributes to the early deaths of around 10,000 Londoners a year. Spurred on by the introduction of an Ultra-Low Emission Zone for part of the capital from 2019, Transport for London and its bus company contractors are in the process of introducing Europe’s largest fleet of electric buses. Go-Ahead London was TfL’s partner to trial the initial e-bus technology in late 2013, which proved it could work in London’s challenging operating environment. Over the last year, Go-Ahead London has delivered a fleet of 51 pure electric buses, working with the Mayor’s Office and TfL, as well as UK Power Networks and Scottish Southern Electric to install sufficient electrical capacity at the Waterloo depot. This space constrained central London site, surrounded by residential and business neighbours, was converted from diesel operation to plug in electric thanks to meticulous planning and engagement with staff, neighbours, suppliers and bus industry colleagues. The new vehicles have seamlessly replaced the buses that previously served passengers on the busy inter-station Routes 507 and 521.
Once again, the scale of this scheme – the largest plug in electric bus project in Europe and possibly the world – impressed the judges, who thought that Go-Ahead London deserves credit for overcoming the many practical obstacles to covert the depot to all-electric running. They also noted that a scheme on this scale could only be delivered where there is a sufficient power supply available.
Winner, Silver Award
Bus 2020 – Lothian Buses
As one of the largest transport providers in Scotland, Lothian Buses is playing its part in achieving the Scottish Government’s strategy of air quality improvements and aim to make a 42% reduction in greenhouses glasses from 2015 to 2020. Bus 2020 is Lothian’s plan which affects all areas if the business as well as continued heavy investment in low emissions vehicles over the next few years. Waste was reduced by 20% in the first year, LED lighting is replacing existing lamps in offices and depots and three all electric vans have been introduced. Last year 30 Euro 6 vehicles were introduced to the Edinburgh City Tours fleet alongside a further 25 vehicles to operate route 22 which runs through two air quality management areas. By the end of this year, Lothian aims to introduce 30 more Euro 6 buses on city centre routes as well as 20 double deck hybrid buses and 15 single deck Euro 6 vehicles for its East Coast Buses subsidiary.
The judges commented that this entry shows that there is a lot of work that can be done within a bus business to deliver real environmental benefits beyond the emissions from buses.
Winner, Bronze Award
York Park & Ride Electric Buses – First York
The York Park & Ride network, operated in partnership by City of York Council and First York, supports over four million journeys every year and is one of the UK’s most used and environmentally friendly Park & Ride services. In fact Poppleton Bar is the UK’s first all-electric Park & Ride route. Locally manufactured Optare buses offer a smooth, quiet, zero-emission ride into the city. Rapid chargers at Poppleton Bar provide a day-long charge to the buses’ batteries, and offer electric car owners a chance to charge too. Electric Optare buses have replaced diesel buses at two out of the six Park & Ride sites helping to improve air quality, and it is planned to introduce double decker electric vehicles.
The judges said that in overcoming the issues around electric buses not being able to complete a full days operation without some re-charging, First York had produced a model for the operation of electric buses elsewhere. They were also impressed that the second batch of electric buses was delivered commercially by First Bus.
A Cleaner and Greener Fleet – First Bus
Since establishing its comprehensive annual fuel economy testing programme in 2012 in partnership with Millbrook Proving Ground, First Bus has continued to work with manufacturers to improve vehicle efficiency as part of a continuous improvement drive. This programme of work has led to new vehicles becoming 30% more efficient and made Low Carbon Certified Buses more affordable. In recent years First Bus has invested heavily in Low Carbon Buses and now operates more than a 1,000 in the UK, which is more than any other operator. As a result First Bus is now saving around 15,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to the CO2 absorbed by 7.5 million trees. Having also recognised the importance of air quality First has also invested in what is understood to be the UK’s largest fleet of Euro VI engine buses helping to improve air quality in towns and cities across Britain.
The judges praised the continued work of First Bus which is delivering benefits for the whole industry.
The Big Lemon CIC
The Big Lemon Community Interest Company describes itself as a super-friendly sustainable transport business based in Brighton, providing the local community with affordable, environmentally sustainable bus and coach services that are a joy for passengers to use. It believes it is the UK’s greenest bus company and the only one that does not use petrol or diesel to power its core fleet of vehicles. All its coaches run on recycled waste cooking oil from restaurants and the company launched the UK’s first solar powered electric bus in April this year. The energy comes from an array of solar panels on the depot roof which generates what the bus needs, as well as powering the office and creating a surplus to feed back into the grid. The Big Lemon also promotes walking through a programme of Sunday country walks, and internally, has a strong waste reduction and recycling policy.
The judges were pleased to see a small operator, that has not benefitted from the Green Bus Fund, innovating and bringing together proven technology to deliver a small scale scheme with big environmental benefits.
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 was 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 should therefore 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.
Entries were asked to address each of the above criteria to assist with the judging process, because non-transferable marks will be allocated for each of these criteria. Entries were also required to set the entry in the context of the entrant’s overall approach to Corporate Social Responsibility.
Products or services entered for consideration did not necessarily need to be exclusive to the bus industry, but entrants needed to demonstrate that it had widespread application within the industry.