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Council-owned bus firms scoops low carbon award

Council-owned bus firm Reading Buses won Low Carbon Vehicle Operator of the Year at an awards ceremony last night for its innovative – and potentially risky – investment in gas-powered buses.

The judges at the LowCVP Low Carbon Champions Awards said: “Reading Buses’ was a particularly impressive entry demonstrating how the use of gas buses has brought additional benefits through reduced air pollution emissions and noise. The company have made further commitments to lower the environmental impact of their day-to-day operation including initiatives to reduce energy consumption and waste generation.”

Reading Buses has the first gas bus filling station in the UK, which was officially opened by transport minister Baroness Kramer this week. It will also be used to fuel converted taxis in the town, thanks to a government grant.

About 40% of the Reading Buses fleet is either diesel-electric hybrid, or gas-powered – the largest proportion in the country. The company, which has been operating for more than 100 years, is fully-owned by Reading Borough Council.

It has 34 Scania KUB270/ADE Enviro300GS CNG (compressed natural gas) powered buses in its fleet, the purchase of which was supported by the government's Green Bus Fund.

After the awards ceremony in Milton Keynes, LowCVP managing director Andy Eastlake said: “These Awards recognise best practice, and outstanding leadership and innovation in cutting carbon from vehicles and fuels, as well as through other means.

“This year we had more, and higher quality, entries than ever before showing just how far and fast the whole low carbon road transport industry is now progressing, and how many individual stakeholders are contributing to the change.”

There will be an interview with Reading Buses’ director James Freeman in the next edition of Public Sector Executive.

(Top image shows one of the gas-powered buses, copyright Julian Walker. Creative Commons. Below image shows Reading Buses staff collecting the award, Absolute Photography Ltd)

PA1A3799 Low CVP 100914 Absolute Photography Ltd (1)

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