October 05 2020

The second in our series of clean air themed blogs is written by Nigel Taylor, Managing Director of Redwing Coaches. Nigel writes about Redwing Coaches’ investment in Euro 6 vehicles, and the opportunity Clean Air Day presents to educate people about how clean and green these coaches are.

I remember way back into the late seventies when, in a morning, we would start all of our coaches ready for the morning services. This was in a small village in rural Lincolnshire and the whole village would be enveloped in diesel fumes and the toxic smoke these engines emitted. You then spent the rest of the day smelling of diesel fumes but no one seemed to care or worry. Add to this the pollution from the nearby steelworks and I’m pretty sure that the air I was breathing as a young man was not at all healthy. It was only later in the twentieth century that we all started to realise that we needed to do something with regards to air quality.

Fast forward twenty years and I find myself the Joint Managing Director of one of London’s largest coach fleets. Redwing is very proud at having been one of the fist all Euro 6 engine fleets in the country, after having bought our first such vehicles in March 2015. These 8 Mercedes Benz Tourismo coaches have since been joined by more than sixty vehicles, in fact we stared replacing our first Euro 6 coaches in 2019. We now operate a fleet of 54 coaches from 3 depots Battersea, Croydon and Gravesend. We are also proud to be one of the largest independent operators of PSVAR coaches in the country, with 18 Mercedes Benz Tourismo coaches equipped to this specification.

A Euro 6 engine coach is as near to zero emission that you can get with a diesel engine. Do the public know this? I personally do not think so. Clean Air Day gives us the chance to go some way to educating the general public about how green our coaches are. We certainly do not “shout it from the rooftops loudly enough”. During lockdown our streets were empty, our motorways deserted, our skies devoid of airliners. Was this Mother Nature’s way of taking a breather? Unfortunately since lockdown our streets and motorways are getting busier, in some areas traffic is worse now than pre lockdown. This could mainly be due to the fact that the Government still keep warning people against using public transport, which means that there are far more cars on the road whilst our lovely green clean coaches sit in our yards. We really do need to educate the public that the modern coach is far more environmentally friendly than the old charabanc.

The introduction of the ULEZ in some of our major cities was seen as a large step forward in improving air quality. Unfortunately, due the Covid 19 pandemic, a lot of these zone extensions have been put on hold for 12 months. Surely it is the time to realise that we need to act more quickly and not delay these extensions. We need to create a better world, not only for ourselves but our children and our children’s children. We really need to assure, not only the travelling public, everyone that our industry takes cleaning up the air seriously. It is now fact that respiratory illnesses and certain cancers are being related to our air pollution, it is now time to do something. Maybe, in the middle of a global pandemic, we need to clean up our act and take this seriously. As an industry we are in danger of missing the euro 6 boat and electric vehicles being the only ones allowed in city centres.

Over the last 5 years Redwing have invested over £13 million in new Euro 6 engine coaches and we are proud to be one of the leaders in the industry on this level. Clean Air Day is there for us to shout about and let everyone know that we are all doing our bit. I could quote lots of statics but, as Benjamin Disrelli allegedly said, “there are three kinds of lies -  lies, damned lies and statistics”, although many people believe this was a quote from Mark Twain. That argument is best kept for another day.

Finally, as well as educating the public, maybe we should be educating the politicians. We need to be heard and we need to show them all that we are an industry at the forefront of air pollution and that the more buses and coaches on our roads means LESS pollution.

Find out more about Redwing Coaches on their website: https://www.redwing-coaches.co.uk/