Glasgow’s biggest bus operator First Glasgow have unveiled the first batch of 25 buses which have been fitted with cleaner engines ahead of the launch of Glasgow Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

The buses started operating in the city on 11 October, on the 75 service running from Castlemilk to Milton.

The new buses are designed to operate in the city's planned Low Emission Zone (LEZ) which is to be phased in from the 1 January. During phase one of the LEZ, 20% of a bus operator's fleet is required to be compliant and a target of 100% has been set for the end of 2022. 

FirstGroup, said it would cost nearly £100m to buy or convert buses so all those in the zone are at the Euro 6 engine standard. This will involve replacing or converting 450 of First Glasgow's 850 vehicles. A further 50 compliant vehicles are also due to be delivered by November with First Glasgow. 

One of the buses is also among the first in the UK to have cameras instead of wing mirrors, which give drivers a clearer view via cab screens. In addition, "Stop start" technology means the bus engine will automatically switch off when the doors are open at bus stops, reducing exhaust fumes inhaled by people on the pavement.

Andrew Jarvis, the managing director of First Bus, said: "These new buses are just the start of wide-scale improvements we are making to improve our services and provide a better standard for everyone in the city. 

"Hopefully, even more people will now sample our new buses, then see it as a real viable alternative to using the car."

Anna Richardson, the city council's convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said all Glasgow's bus operators would be compliant with the LEZ restrictions when it comes into force without the need to curtail services. 

She said: “Glasgow’s low emission zone (LEZ) will reduce harmful vehicle emissions and make our vibrant city centre a safer and more pleasant place to be. 

“The bus industry has worked closely with the council to ensure delivery of the first phase of the LEZ. 

 “Whilst the first phase of Glasgow’s LEZ applies to local service buses only, we’re committed to improving air quality, and by the end of 2022, the strict exhaust emission standards required to enter Glasgow’s LEZ will apply to all vehicles.” 

Ms Richardson said: "It's really important to give people those four years to prepare." 

Transport Scotland said the Scottish Government was investing £10.8m this year in implementing low emission zones, which are due to be set up in four Scottish cities by 2020.

A spokesman said: "Almost 70% of this will be used to support the bus industry through the Bus Emission Abatement Retrofit Programme which will be launched soon and will allow more than 500 buses to be retrofitted. 

"£2.8m is being made available this year to support local authorities as they plan to introduce LEZs with applications for funding currently being considered by Transport Scotland.

"In addition, our Green Bus Fund also supports the take-up of new low emission buses. 

"Operators in Glasgow and elsewhere have benefited from grants so that they push beyond standard diesel buses to greener technologies. 

"Over seven rounds, grants totalling £16m have been awarded assisting in the purchase of 361 new low carbon emission buses across Scotland.

"The eighth round is expected to provide a further £1.7m to support the introduction of more buses in future, including 125 new low emission buses for First's Glasgow operation."