A LOCAL BUS operator has become the first in Scotland to be awarded a coveted five star rating for its environmental performance.

Stagecoach East Scotland was assessed under the ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme, run locally by Dundee City Council.

Presenting the firm with its certificate Vari McDonald vice convener of the city council’s environment committee said: “The ECO (Efficient and Cleaner Operations) Stars scheme provides recognition and guidance on environmental best practice to operators of goods vehicles, buses and coaches whose fleets are either based in or regularly serve Dundee.

“Signing up to the free scheme provides tools and on-going support for operators to reduce costs and their environmental impact, and it also helps in the council’s continuing drive to reduce air pollution.

“I am delighted that Stagecoach East Scotland is the first bus operator in the country to be awarded five stars and have no doubt that the example they have set will be picked up by other fleet operators.”

Andrew Jarvis, managing director, Stagecoach East Scotland said: “We’re committed to improving our environmental performance, not just through our actual vehicles but through our infrastructure and staff behaviour too.  Being the first operator in Scotland to achieve this high 5* star rating is a testament to the efforts of our local team, from the safe and efficient driving on the roads to the senior management investment decisions.

“The certificate is also being awarded to us during our annual Green Week – a week of events to highlight our environmental initiatives to customers and staff across the company.”

Organisations joining the scheme receive access to fleet specialist advice, including an assessment on each of its vehicles by an industry expert and an overview of the way the fleet is managed.

This process leads to a star rating between one and five and tailored guidance on the key measures to take to increase their star rating and thus improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

ECO Stars is backed by the Scottish Government which awarded Dundee City Council £33,000 last year to set up the local scheme.

Among more than 20 local operators signed up in the first six months are Dundee City Council, Asda, Noble Foods, Alan Davie Ltd, Alcontrol Laboratories, Malcolm Group, Clipper Logistics, Martin Brower and National Express Dundee.