The government has announced that a multi-million pound scheme to put zero-emission buses across England has gone live, with zero-emission bus funding now available.
As the government continues with its promise of a ‘green recovery’ the multimillion-pound scheme, launched by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, will enable local transport authorities to roll out zero-emission buses.
The Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme will make up to £120 million available, allowing local transport authorities to bid for funding to purchase zero-emission buses. This in turn will improve air quality in towns and cities across England, by reducing the carbon emissions from their local public transport.
Earlier in the year the government promised to put 4,000 zero-emission buses all over the UK; the ZEBRA funding will enable the roll-out of up to 500 of them.
The Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme will make up to £120 million available, allowing local transport authorities to bid for funding to purchase zero-emission buses.
The news comes on the back of the government announced £3bn fund, to overhaul the UK bus strategy. Announced on March 15th, the upgraded strategy is being called a once in a generation project. It promises overall improved nationwide bus services, including lower and easier to manage fares, council commitments to increased reliability, and greater service frequency.
The national bus strategy includes numerous commitments to improve the environmental friendliness of the UK bus sector. As part for the strategy the government also pledged to a consultation on the end date for sales of diesel buses.
The government has called upon bus operators and manufacturers, energy companies and local transport authorities to work together in applying for funding, in order for the zero-emission-bus fund to be used quickly, and to create an injection of orders for British bus manufacturers. Wrightbus, manufacturers of the world’s first zero-emission Hydrogen double-decker, owned by pioneering green industrialist Jo Bamford, have already produced zero-emission fleets for Aberdeen, London and Birmingham amongst other cities, and have pledged to create thousands of UK jobs, whilst tackling the transport emissions crisis head on, with their pioneering zero-emission technology.
Zero-emission Hydrogen buses manufactured by UK bus manufacturer Wrightbus, have already launched zero-emission Hydrogen bus fleets in several major UK cities.
The government now wants ZEBRA to ensure that buses benefit local communities and economies as a result of being purchased as well as manufactured and driven in the UK.
For a fast-track process allowing local transport authorities to bid to secure their funding, expressions of interest must be submitted by May 21st, with a proposed extension up until June 25th for those local authorities who need extra time.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, said:
“We’ve set out our vision of how we’re going to make buses better in this country, and now we’re getting on with delivering it.
The launch of the scheme today means we’re giving businesses and local authorities the tools to help deliver the 4,000 zero-emission buses we said we would introduce, which will dramatically improve air quality in towns and cities across the country, helping us achieve our net-zero ambitions.”
Silviya Barrett, Head of Policy, Research and Projects at Campaign for Better Transport, said:
“Zero-emission buses are great news all round. As well as addressing climate change and air pollution, this funding will boost the bus manufacturing sector and give more passengers the best modern buses.
We’re glad that the government has appreciated the need to speed up the transition to zero-emission buses.”
Silviya Barett, Head of Policy, Research and Projects at the Campaign for Better Transport said: “We’re glad that the government has appreciated the need to speed up the transition to zero-emission buses.”
Jo Bamford, owner and Executive Chairman of Wrightbus responded to recent government funding for the Northern Irish zero-emission bus manufacturer saying that “funding will allow us to realise our ambitions of creating a centre of excellence for zero-emission technology in Ballymena, enabling us to increase production of the next generation of world-leading hydrogen buses at a higher volume and a lower cost than ever before.
It will safeguard more than 1,000 skilled jobs and will allow us to create more than 3,000 additional jobs over the next 10 years, giving a significant boost to the wider economy in Northern Ireland.” The funding is to enable a faster and increased roll-out of Wrightbus zero-emission transport solutions.
Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy at the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), said about ZEBRA:
“The BCC very much welcomes investment in initiatives that boost public transport infrastructure and the UK’s drive towards net-zero.
This is a welcome injection of cash and confidence for businesses in this sector and for towns and cities across the country. Access to affordable, reliable and greener public transport will be a key to rebuilding local economies.”