A plan to convert an entire Harrogate bus fleet to EVs has taken a step forward after the UK government invited North Yorkshire County Council to bid for more than £8m to help finance the project.
The council is working with The Harrogate Bus Company, part of Transdev, on a scheme that would see some 39 zero-emission buses delivered in Harrogate over the next three years.
Following an expression of interest to the UK Department for Transport’s (DfT) Zero Emissions Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme, the authority has been invited to submit a business case to support its bid for funds.
In total, the project would cost almost £20m, with £11.5m invested by Transdev. A total of 20 single-decker and 19 double-decker buses would be bought and the supporting charging infrastructure put in place. All the vehicles would have next stop announcements, USB power and free Wi-Fi.
Cllr Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, North Yorkshire County Council, said: “We’re near the start of a competitive process and success is not guaranteed, but this action illustrates the scale of our ambition and commitment and, if successful, could provide a blueprint for other areas of North Yorkshire.
“This project aligns with the decarbonisation ambitions we share with partners across the region to protect the environment and counter climate change.
“It would accelerate improvements in air quality, as zero-emission vehicles produce no tail-pipe emissions, bringing health benefits to residents and visitors. The quieter electric buses would also reduce noise pollution.”
The bid must be submitted by the end of January 2022 with a decision from the DfT expected by March 2022.