CIVIC chiefs have accepted a £2.67 million grant that will be used to tackle pollution in the city.

The cash, from the government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund (CBTF), shall go towards fitting buses with ‘selective catalytic reduction technology’ that will reduce harmful emissions in Southampton.

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.

The city is one of twenty across the UK that received the money from Westminster to address this issue from a total of £40m national funding.

The aim is that older buses will, as a result of the changes, have lower emissions, and will take place prior to the introduction of the Southampton Clean Air Zone.

“They will be the cleanest diesel buses that can possibly be achieved,” declared council leader Chris Hammond.

As previously reported, the four city bus operators – First Bus, Go South Coast, Wheelers, and Xela Bus – will benefit from the funding, and a total of 145 buses will be retrofitted by 2019.

The bus companies have also agreed to provide match funding over the next two years of £815,680.

Andrew Wickham, managing director of Go South Coast, which operates Bluestar and Unilink services in the city, said: “This funding is a welcome boost for Southampton.”

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, pictured, member for environment, said: “This is a really positive step forward as part of the Labour administration’s ambitious Clean Air Strategy.

“Bus use is increasing in the city, and we need the impact of those buses to have a minimal impact on the air we all breathe.

“This is particularly good news for busy routes across the city’s road network.”

It comes ahead of the introduction of a Clean Air Zone charge in Southampton in 2019.

Commercial vehicles, including buses and taxis, which don’t meet standards will be charged to enter the city centre.