Actor recalls days when smoke filled atmosphere
BOOMING-voiced actor Brian Blessed returned to South Yorkshire for the official launch of smooth and quiet new buses which have taken to the roads in Sheffield.
The Goldthorpe-born star of stage and screen, a keen environmental campaigner, was invited to perform the honour for Stagecoach, which has bought 21 new hybrid diesel-electric double deckers that produce one third less exhaust emissions.
The £6 million fleet, funded with £4m from the transport giant and a £2m grant from the Government’s green buses fund, will be used mostly on the 120 route from Halfway to Fulwood, but some of the vehicles have also been in service on other services such as the 52 running from Woodhouse to Crookes.
Brian, who joined Stagecoach’s regional managing director Paul Lynch to cut a ribbon to launch the new fleet, spoke of the importance of the fight against air pollution.
He said: “When I came to Sheffield for speech lessons all those years ago, you couldn’t see a yard in front of you for the smoke.
“It was like Mount Vesuvius – Sheffield was a furnace and alive with industry.
“Now the air looks clear and the sky is blue but now the pollution is much more dangerous and insidious.
“We should not ease off on the fight to improve the environment – that’s why I’m here to launch these buses.”
Stagecoach Yorkshire managing director Paul Lynch said: “The buses will produce a third less emissions – which is good for the environment.”
He added: “They also have a smoother ride and are quieter than older models.”
Mr Lynch said the company was also trialling bio diesel and compressed natural gas-fuelled buses in other parts of the UK.