HUNDREDS of buses will be fitted with environmentally-friendly technology after it was announced cities including Southampton will face a crackdown on pollution-emitting vehicles.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has said that 18 local authorities made successful bids for around £7 million of funding to carry out the work.

The move comes just weeks after it was announced that motorists in Southampton using old diesel buses, taxis, coaches and lorries will be charged to discourage their use.

Nearly 450 buses in England will be retrofitted with green technology in a bid to improve air quality.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: "Greener buses mean cleaner town and city centres and a healthier environment for everyone.

"The upgraded buses that will soon hit the roads in England continue our commitment to better air quality by investing in greener transport."

Some 439 buses will be retrofitted with technology to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions under the Clean Bus Technology Fund.

These buses will complete more than a million journeys a year.

The Government published its air quality plan in December which focuses on bringing in clean air zones in five English cities by 2020.

The zones will use charging to discourage the most polluting vehicles, including old diesel buses, taxis, coaches and lorries, from entering the city centres of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton.

But they will not affect private cars, which environmental group ClientEarth said are one of the biggest sources of poor air quality in cities.

London is also set to bring in an ultra low emissions zone in 2020, which will apply to all vehicles.

Ministers were ordered by the Supreme Court last year to produce plans to comply with European Union law on limits for nitrogen dioxide in the air.