SOUTHAMPTON buses are set to be fitted with pollution reducing tech following a £2.67 million government grant.

As part of a drive by the council to clean up the city’s air, the cash will be used to upgrade 145 older and more polluting diesel buses with advanced catalytic converters – which can cut nitrogen dioxide emissions by up to 90 per cent.

At its cabinet meeting next Tuesday, civic chiefs will vote on whether they will accept the grant.

If approved, the money will also be used to fit the vehicles with telematics exhaust monitoring technology, which will monitor the amount of pollution they produce.

Civic chiefs say they want to implement the technology ahead of the introduction of the city’s Clean Air Zone in 2019.

City council cabinet member for sustainable living, councillor Christopher Hammond, said: “This funding will help reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions from older buses in the city, helping meet a key objective of the city council’s clean air strategy.

“It will contribute towards improved air quality on congested road corridors in the city.”

Southampton was one of 20 cities across the UK to be awarded the money, from the government’s £40 million Clean Bus Technology Fund (CBFT).

Civic chiefs bid in partnership with First Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire, Go-South Coast, Xelabus and Wheelers Travel – who between them operate all 35 of the bus routes in the city.

The operators will match fund the grant with £815,680 in refurbished vehicles, driver training and investment to improve fuel economy.

The grant money will be used to fit 145 pre-Euro VI standard buses, built before January 2015, with Selective Catalytic Reduction Technology (SCRT).

Used in diesel engines, the device injects a liquid-reductant agent through a special catalyst into the exhaust stream, reducing the amount of harmful emissions the engine produces.

Andrew Wickham, managing director of Go South Coast, which operates Bluestar and Unilink in the city, said: “We believe a well-run and reliable bus service is an excellent solution for improving air quality and reducing congestion, because it gives people the option to leave their cars at home.

“So this funding is a welcome boost for Southampton.”