“From next year, all new double-deck buses will be hybrid, electric or hydrogen (H2)” is the message from Transport for London (TfL) as ambitious, new plans have been revealed which propose the city’s entire transport system will be zero emission by 2050.

As part of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s, plans to clean up the capital’s air, more than half of London’s entire bus fleet are to be upgraded to meet the latest ultra-low Euro VI emissions standard.

Through the new £86.1m programme, around 5,000 buses will be retrofitted with a new exhaust system that will significantly cut their emissions. This will mean that by September 2020, the entire bus fleet will be at least Euro VI standard.

TfL will work with bus operators and five chosen suppliers to install the new bespoke exhaust systems which will reduce nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Diesel particulate filters will also be installed alongside the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) equipment to reduce air pollution.

Following a competitive process, the five suppliers appointed to retrofit the exhaust systems are Amminex, Baumot Twintec, Eminox, HJS and Proventia.

Currently 700-800 new low-emission buses are being introduced to the fleet every year, with diesel-only buses being phased out. From next year, all new double-deck buses will be hybrid, electric or H2. In addition all buses within the central London Ultra-Low Emission Zone will be Euro VI hybrid standard by 2019.

Mayor Khan said, “We know that pollution from our roads is a major contributor to London’s toxic air. That’s why we are working so hard to introduce new clean buses on our streets and why we are continually looking for innovative ways to clean up the most polluting buses. There’s no doubt that by cutting the emissions of more than half of the fleet by up to 95 per cent, this innovative retrofit programme is going to make a huge difference to Londoners.”

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, echoed, “Air pollution has reached unacceptable levels in London and we are doing everything we can to tackle the problem in one of the most ambitious programmes of its type. By retrofitting 5,000 buses – over half of our fleet – with the latest green engine technology, we will be able to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions significantly. We will continue to take action to ensure London’s bus fleet remains the greenest and cleanest of any major world city.”

London has the cleanest bus fleet of any major world city with a third of the fleet running on B20 biodiesel, 2,500 hybrid buses, 71 electric buses, and eight H2 fuel cell buses.

Earlier this year, the Mayor announced an inaugural Low Emission Bus Zone in Putney. This is the first of 12 set to be introduced at air quality hotspots across London. Only buses that meet the toughest emission standards will be permitted to run within the zones, which also have effective bus priority measures in place to keep bus delays to a minimum and reduce unnecessary pollution caused by sitting in traffic.