• Go North East accelerates shift to cleaner technology by rolling out its Air Filtering Bus in Summer 2020
  • The bus has fans on the roof which suck pollutant particles into special filters
  • The technology, which is the first of its kind in the transport sector, aims to tackle pollution and air quality

Go North East, part of the Go-Ahead Group, is rolling out its unique ‘Air Filtering Bus’ to help tackle pollution in Newcastle and Gateshead and will be deployed to rotate across a variety of routes in the area.

Go North East is part of Go-Ahead’s national roll out of its Air Filtering Bus into six cities throughout the UK as the group accelerates plans to have the greenest fleet of buses in the country.

The single-decker buses – which strip pollutant particles from the air as they drive – are also being deployed in Brighton, Manchester, Oxford, Plymouth and Crawley/Gatwick. The buses will hit the streets from the early summer.

Each bus is fitted with an air filtering system made up of three fans on the roof that suck ultra-fine particles and dirt (known as PM10) into special filters.

The roll-out follows a successful launch in Southampton last year where initial tests showed that a single bus could remove as much as 65g of pollutants from the air – equivalent to the weight of a tennis ball – in a 100-day period (and cleaned 3.2 million cubic metres of city air).

Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director at Go North East, said: “We know that improving air quality is a huge priority in Newcastle and Gateshead.

“Buses already make a positive contribution by proving low carbon journeys that take cars out of traffic jams. We are also investing in low-emission vehicles each year, and in the summer we’ll be taking delivery of our first batch of full electric zero emission buses.

“This innovation represents a further step that we are taking to contribute to cleaner air.”

David Brown, Go-Ahead Chief Executive, said: “We want to play our part in tackling the crisis in urban air quality and show that buses can be integral to cleaning up our cities.

“Our air-filtering system has exceeded all expectations in how it can benefit the environment, and it builds on our track-record as operator of the UK’s greenest bus fleet.

“We believe the Air Filtering Bus provides a ‘quick win’ for councils as they explore initiatives such as Clean Air Zones to tackle toxic pollution.”

Health problems associated with outdoor air pollution are linked to 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

In the UK, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates that particulate air pollution reduces the life expectancy of residents by six months on average.

And recent research suggested that living in an area with high pollution worsens your memory to the same extent as ageing ten years.

Professors at the University of Warwick looked at levels of the PM10 pollutant, which comes from exhaust fumes, degrading tyres, vehicle exhausts and domestic wood burners.

The Air Filtering Buses are designed to clean the air as they drive through a city, removing up to 99.5% per cent of particulate matter which travels through it.

It was initially deployed on one of the low-emission Euro VI buses run by Go-Ahead subsidiary Bluestar in Southampton.