ELECTRIC buses could be introduced to help tackle pollution in the district.
Route 67 from Cubbington to Sydenham is being considered by Warwick District Council to trial a new ‘Ultra-Low Emission Bus’ scheme.
The plans includes six Volvo buses to run on electric, with one or two charging points along the route which includes the Parade and Bath Street in Leamington.
The charging points have been proposed outside All Saints Church and on or near Lower Avenue – locations which could serve other routes in future.
The council has applied for £3million from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles, and if granted bus operator Stagecoach would then fund the running and maintenance costs.
Council officers say the scheme would have major environmental benefits for the district which has up 89 buses operating on the roads.
The six electric buses would cut greenhouse gases – 320 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and 900kg of nitrus oxides per year – which contribute to global warming.
And particulate matter – fine particle matter or ‘soot’ whose levels in Leamington exceed World Health Organisation guidelines – could also be significantly reduced.
This problem has been particularly highlighted in the south of the town which is an Air Quality Management Area – meaning measures to reduce levels due to increased traffic and congestion are ongoing.
Brunswick ward councillor Kristie Naimo welcomed the proposal but said other ways to tackle pollution should also be considered.
She added: “We need to tackle congestion and pollution by improving our transport links, for example by developing a bus interchange close to the station, adjusting bus routes and developing better, safer cycle routes into and between town centres.
“More traffic calming and speed control measures are needed.
“And we need policies and campaigns to promote green walls and roof gardens, wherever they can be introduced, across the district.
“This initiative is just a first step, though a welcome one.”
The Green Party also welcomed the proposal.
Spokesman Martin Luckhurst said: “I’m delighted that the 67 from Sydenham through to Cubbington has been chosen as the first route to go electric in the town. The route goes under the High Street/Bath Street railway bridge which has dangerous levels of air pollution. Anything that improves air quality here is welcomed.
“I would like to see Stagecoach convert all their routes to electric by 2025 and for Warwickshire County Council to use their powers to insist on lower emissions.”
Councillors were set to consider the electric bus scheme yesterday (Wednesday). If granted, the new buses could be in operation next year.