The Yorkshire, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampshire areas will see the deployment of 117 new zero-emission buses (ZEBs) after the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed £25.3m in funding today [2 March].
This aligns with the government’s broader goals for zero-emission bus services across the UK, with this amount bringing total government funding to almost £300m so far for up to 1,395 zero-emission buses in England.
It is an additional investment from the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas scheme (ZEBRA), which was launched in 2021 to encourage local transport authorities to bid for funding for ZEBs and supportive infrastructure.
On the funding boost, Richard Holden, roads minister and speaker at IntraLogisteX 2023, said: “Buses are the most popular form of public transport, and these new British-built zero emission buses will support hundreds of high-quality manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland, grow our economy and help clean up the air in towns and cities across the country.
“We’re providing an additional £25.3m to roll out 117 new buses to provide residents in Yorkshire, Norfolk and Portsmouth with better, cleaner and quieter journeys, as we step up a gear to reach net zero faster and level up transport across the country.
“Zero-emission buses are also often cheaper to run, improving the economics for bus operators. All these additional buses funded through the ZEBRA scheme are battery electric.”
Additional funding will be allocated as follows:
- Norfolk County Council will receive an extra £11.5m to deliver 55 additional ZEBs
- Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council will receive an extra £6.2m to deliver 28 additional ZEBs
- West Yorkshire Combined Authority will receive an extra £5.7m to deliver 25 additional ZEBs
- City of York Council will receive an extra £1.9m to deliver nine additional ZEBs.
What’s more, the government also hopes to use this money to support British manufacturing across the country, as the buses will be built in Northern Ireland by Wrightbus and operated by FirstBus. This is intended to support highly-skilled job creation, as well as economic growth.
Janette Bell, managing director at First Bus said: “We are delighted to be accelerating investment in the electrification of our bus fleet and infrastructure, supported by co-funding from the Department for Transport.
“As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are fully aligned with the government’s ambitions for a net-zero carbon transport system. We are rapidly transforming our business with zero emission bus fleets and will continue to work closely with central and local government across the UK to deliver our decarbonisation plans.”
This funding allocation forms part of the government’s wider £3bn National Bus Strategy, which was established to improve the nation’s bus services.
To see Richard Holden speak at IntraLogisteX 2023, register to attend for free now at www.intralogistex.co.uk