Low Emission Bus Investment in Liverpool City Region

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Low Emission Bus Investment in Liverpool City Region

The successful Liverpool City Region Low Emission Bus Application is bringing three different bus technology types to the City Region. This will help deliver the region’s first 100% electric bus route, a doubling of the existing numbers of both Biomethane vehicles and diesel hybrid vehicles operating in the region.

The project, currently at delivery stage, is expected to deliver significant environmental benefits.

Key Statistics

Location: Liverpool City Region
Key Stakeholders:
  • Arriva Bus
  • Merseytravel
Construction start date: January 2017
Construction completion date: March 2019

Sources of funding



Department for Transport (OLEV): £4,982,349
Arriva: £17,644,153

Transport and the economy

Arriva currently operate a total of seven 100% electric buses in the UK, so the introduction of 12 vehicles represents a major investment not only for Arriva in Liverpool but also for Arriva in the UK.

The charging infrastructure being installed at the depot has been ‘future proofed’ to ensure it can be easily upgraded to accommodate additional 100% electric vehicles should they be introduced to the fleet at Green Lane depot. The introduction of twelve 100% electric vehicles will be the first fully zero emission buses operating in the LCR and will be a major innovation for the region and will see an entire bus route currently operating EURO II and EURO IV vehicles replaced with zero emission ones.

At present Arriva currently operate a total of 10 Biomethane buses in the region, which have been in service since 2013, so the project will see a doubling of environmentally friendly gas buses in operation in the LCR. The introduction of the new gas buses will also mean that almost 50% of the fleet operating from the Runcorn depot will be low emission Biomethane.  The nine new Biomethane vehicles will replace existing EURO III vehicles.

At present Arriva currently operate a total of 33 hybrid electric vehicles in the Liverpool City Region which were introduced in 2013 and the introduction of 51 new hybrids will represent a significant proportion of its double deck fleet converting to lower emission hybrid vehicles. The hybrid vehicles will replace a mixture of EURO IV and V currently which will represent a reduction of approximately 90% in CO2 emissions.

Rationale for investment

There are 11 AQMA’s declared in the LCR with the city of Liverpool having a single AQMA covering it which was declared in 2008.  In Merseyside 5.1% of deaths are related to air pollution.  Although buses have lower per head emissions than cars, assuming they have a high level of occupancy, they are a larger polluter.  Buses travel throughout the day but they are more frequent in peak periods when they will be caught in congestion which increases the amounts of pollutants released.

If improvements can be implemented in the LCR bus fleet by reducing emissions it will effect improvements in air quality particularly in the AQMAs where buses are significant contributors to pollution levels but also across the wider LCR, which will reduce background levels of pollutants and in turn contribute to air quality improvements.

This project proposal includes the introduction of three different technology types we feel this makes it an innovative proposal which will act as a test bed for each of the technologies over the life of the project. It is hoped that by introducing three different technologies this will attract interest in the region from other operators who will be monitoring the project and will be able to share in the results of the project with Arriva, which will hopefully encourage other operators to introduce LEB into their fleets.

Scheme objectives

Introduction of 72 low emission buses comprised of 9 electric, 12 biomethane and 51 hybrid buses. In order to power the Electric vehicles 7 rapid charging units will be installed at Arriva’s Green Lane depot. To reduce harmful emissions from bus transport across the LCR.

Appraisal and selection

Scheme development

Merseytravel led on the bid development in conjunction with LCR bus operators.  The invitation to apply was circulated to all bus operators, outlining the funding priorities and objectives.  Projects were then submitted from each interested operator and schemes developed.  Early in the process the Arriva project was raised as a potential bid opportunity.  This then required a coordinated effort, internally within Arriva and with project partners such as bus manufacturers, charging infrastructure provides and the local DNO to pull the bid together and meet the funding deadlines and criteria.

Scheme prioritisation

The schemes were prioritised in line with the available OLEV funding objectives.

Business case development

For this scheme the business case development was aligned with the application form required by OLEV. The categories included; Ambition, Deliverability, Air Quality and Value for Money.

To establish the air quality impact of the project, carbon calculators were completed detailing the emissions from a diesel bus compared with the low emission bus.  A challenge faced was getting the information required for the low emission buses; this was taken from the low emission bus certificate.  However, given the innovative nature of the buses, often low emission bus certificates were not available therefore estimates needed to be provided. To get these figures we worked with the low carbon vehicle partnership to establish baseline statistics, which would accurately reflect the new vehicle emissions.

The Merseyside Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (MAEI) was also used to calculate the emission reduction specific to each bus route.  Route modelling calculated the amount of emissions emitted by diesel buses (Euro 2/3/4 as appropriate) and this was then repeated with the alternative fuelled buses.  This was able to breakdown the tonnes to NOx, PM10 and PM2.5 which was to be saved through the project.

Monitoring plan description

As the low emission bus certificates for the electric and gas buses were not available at time of submission, there is a requirement to provide these to DfT ahead of funding being released.  Therefore there is a requirement to provide these when available to DfT, this will provide the Millbrook test results which outlines the controlled test emissions.

A series of baseline air quality tests will be carried out at specified points along the bus routes and these will be monitored and updated throughout the life of the project.

Air quality information has been supplied by our Liverpool City Region partners to inform the bid and they will continue to provide on-going data as air quality diffusion tubes will be placed on relevant routes before and during technology deployment and the results will be reported on a regular basis.

The Merseyside Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (MAEI) which is operated by Sefton Borough Council will be utilised to model and assess the results throughout the project. The inventory and model allows for air quality progress to be assessed and for solutions that address the air quality issues facing the region to be developed and tested.


Scheme delivery

The project is being delivered by Arriva, through partnership working with contractors, bus manufacturers and engineers to install charging infrastructure at the bus depot.


The successful Liverpool City Region Low Emission Bus Application is bringing three different bus technology types to the City Region. This will help deliver the region’s first 100% electric bus route, a doubling of the existing numbers of both Biomethane vehicles and diesel hybrid vehicles operating in the region.

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