"Will the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport outline steps which the County Council will take to ensure that vehicles are not displaced into Kent for use in public transport or commercial services from London as a result of extended low emission zones in the capital and that the areas of greatest pollution in Kent also benefit from a statutory roll out of ultra-low polluting vehicles?"
Within the rules and regulations governing the operation of bus services Kent County Council has no formal control of the type, and size of the buses bought by operators. We can influence through the services we directly contract and also through our partnership working, but as 97% of all service mileage is commercial, that influence is limited. In respect of ex London buses being used on Kent supported bus services, please note such vehicles could be of a better emission rating than the vehicles they replace.
The authority fully supports the steps being taken to improve the air quality of the UK, by targeting vehicle emissions. Within Kent over the past 12 months, Stagecoach has introduced the first Euro 6 service buses to Kent, in the Thanet/Canterbury areas. 55 of these double deck buses have been ordered. A further 30 Euro 6 minibuses will be introduced by Stagecoach to Ashford by the end of 2016). The introduction of new vehicles to the Kent bus fleet by other Kent bus operators is expected in 2017 and this will help improve air quality.
Finally, in respect of statutory ultra-low emission zones for pollution hotspots, we will work with our district colleagues where such schemes are proposed, to ensure that they not only deliver the air quality improvements desired but can be done so sustainably.