A further slice of funding is being offered to transport providers to reduce harmful carbon emissions on Scotland’s bus routes.

The £5.7 million cash injection will see buses retrofitted with technology to reduce diesel emissions or convert them to electric vehicles.

The fourth round of the bus emissions abatement retrofit programme (BEAR) is in addition to £12.2 million allocated in previous rounds to ensure 762 buses can meet required emissions standards.

Working in partnership with accredited technology providers, Transport Scotland will continue to monitor the air quality performance of retrofitted buses to ensure they perform as expected and comply with low emission zones (LEZs).

Transport minister Graeme Dey said: “To protect public health and improve air quality, we’re continuing to support the introduction of low emission zones across Scotland.

“Each fully occupied bus in our towns and cities can remove the equivalent of 75 cars from the road. It’s for this reason that choosing the bus is already a positive choice for air quality – and even more so if that bus is retrofitted to meet emissions standards.

“Scotland has good air quality, but for the oldest and youngest in our society and those with existing health conditions, air quality remains an issue. It is critical that we have LEZs introduced in our four biggest cities by 2022, and this support is another way we’re helping bus, coach and community transport providers to comply with forthcoming emissions standards.”

Stevie More, engineering director at Lothian Buses, said: “Lothian is fully committed to improving air quality across all our operations in Edinburgh and the Lothians, in line with the Scottish Government’s ambition to have the best air quality in Europe. This announcement from The Scottish Government of a further round of BEAR funding is welcomed by the industry as we all strive to meet the low emission zone targets across Scotland.”

Low emission zones (LEZs) to improve air quality are to be introduced across Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow between February 2022 and May 2022.

Plans to implement LEZs were temporarily paused due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but work has now restarted.

LEZs set an environmental limit on certain road spaces, restricting access for the most polluting vehicles to improve air quality, in order to protect public health within towns and cities.

Vehicles that do not meet the emission standards set for an LEZ will not be able to enter the zone. A penalty charge will be payable by the vehicle’s registered keeper when a non-compliant vehicle enters the LEZ.

However motoring groups have said that the plans could affect up to one in five diesel cars in Edinburgh, which have older engines, and half of vans.

This could affect up to one in five diesel cars in Edinburgh, which have older engines, and half of vans. A two-year grace period will enable drivers to change their vehicles before £60 fines are introduced.