Milton Keynes Council and Arriva win John Connell Silent ApproachTM Award for their electric bus project

John Connell Award

Just over a quarter of UK adults are adversely affected by noise*. The Noise Abatement Society helps find practical solutions and champions vital advances in noise reduction for the public benefit.

The Noise Abatement Society John Connell Awards, the only awards of their kind, are named after its far-sighted founder, who lobbied the Noise Abatement Act through Parliament in 1960 – when noise became a statutory nuisance in the UK for the first time. Supporters of this bill included John Betjeman, T S Eliot and Spike Milligan. John Connell called noise ‘the forgotten pollutant’. Over 50 years later, the cost of noise to society is immense in its negative effect on productivity, learning, health and social cohesion. These awards acknowledge the importance of the quality of sound in our lives, recognising organisations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions and pioneered practical, innovative solutions to reduce noise pollution.

The awards ceremony was held on Wednesday 5th November, at the House of Commons, hosted by Mike Weatherley MP for Hove and Portslade. The Silent ApproachTM Award is sponsored by Brigade Electronics, a. nd was presented by Claire Perry MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, and Member of Parliament for Devizes.

The Milton Keynes Electric Bus Project is an innovative approach to charging electric buses which is enabling quieter, cleaner public transport in Milton Keynes, on the longest wholly electric bus route in the world. Data from this project could kick-start electric bus projects in other towns and cities worldwide.

In 2014, a pilot scheme has been initiated in Milton Keynes. Eight electric buses have replaced seven diesel buses on the number 7 route, which transports over 775,000 passengers a year over a total of 450,000 miles. This trial is managed and planned by MBK Arup Sustainable Projects (MASP), a Mitsui-Arup joint venture. MASP’s ultimate aim is use the data collected by the Milton Keynes trial to demonstrate the economic viability of electric public transport.

The pilot scheme is the result of a five year collaboration between eight organisations: eFleet Integrated Service Ltd (100% Subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc.); Milton Keynes Council; Bus operator Arriva; Manufacturer Wrightbus Limited; Technology supplier Conductix-Wampfler; Western Power Distribution; Chargemaster Plc; SSE.

Uniquely, the new buses are able to recharge their batteries wirelessly through the day. For the first time, electric buses are capable of the equivalent load of a diesel bus.

What makes the Milton Keynes project different from other electric bus schemes is the wireless charging system. The buses recharge when power transmitted from a primary coil buried in the road is picked up by a secondary coil on the bus. 10 minutes parked over a coil replenishes two thirds of the energy consumed by the bus’s route. The primary coils are placed at three points on the bus route, and the buses charge in the time scheduled for driver breaks at the end of the route. 


*WHICH? 2014 Noise Annoyance Survey