About 80 of Boris Johnson’s hybrid buses have been running on diesel after suffering battery malfunctions.
An investigation by LBC radio measured the most harmful of the PM10s and PM5s toxic particulates from a faulty new Routemaster and an older bus model, the Alexander ALX400.
Tests using the latest equipment were undertaken at the same bus stop at the same time on the advice of experts.
They found that more ultra-fine particulates — which are so small they can penetrate the lining of the lungs and get into the bloodstream, potentially causing damage to the heart and brain — were evident in the newer bus when it was running on diesel.
The Routemaster, which is said to be the most environmentally friendly of its kind, emitted 52,648 ultra-fine particulates per cubic centimetre, 74 per cent higher than the older bus which emitted 30,212 particles.
Last week, research revealed that air pollution was responsible for up to 10,000 deaths a year in the capital —thousands more then previously thought. Researchers blamed the high toll on nitrogen dioxide, which is largely linked to diesel fumes.
Ken Davidson, TfL’s head of bus operations, said: “It is simply not credible to try to test the emissions of buses in this way. This experiment is flawed. Overall, the new Routemaster fleet is delivering significant reductions in emissions compared to the buses they replaced.”
The tests came after it emerged that several of the 800-strong London fleet had suffered battery malfunctions. The vehicles have hybrid engines and are only supposed to use diesel when the battery runs out. TfL has confirmed that the power supplies of up to 80 buses had been mended or replaced, meaning that the £354,000 vehicles were pumping out more pollutants.
Labour mayoral candidate Christian Wolmar, who first revealed the problems with the new Routemasters, said: “This is further evidence that this project was misconceived from the start. I have been told that drivers have been complaining about the failed batteries since August last year and yet nothing has been done.
“It is no surprise the emissions are higher than those on conventional buses as the New Bus for London is not operating as designed. It is supposed to be powered by an electric motor, but instead is using its inefficient diesel engine that should, in normal conditions, be running at constant speed.”
Lib-Dem Assembly member Stephen Knight said: “It is appalling that so many new Routemasters have faulty hybrid systems and are therefore emitting more diesel pollution than they should. The Mayor and TfL must now publish the full details of the actual pollution being emitted by the buses.”
Leon Daniels stated on TV that the faulty buses still emitted less pollutants than other buses, so once again Leon Daniels has been proved to be a liar!
Source: London Evening Standard