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£25m to support adoption of zero-emission buses

FirstBus to roll out 110 battery-electric Wrightbuses across UK

Mark Moran
02 March 2023
A battery-electric WrightBus Electroliner

 

The UK government is to make £25m available to support the adoption of British-built zero-emission buses.

Over 110 battery-electric buses will be manufactured in Northern Ireland by Wrightbus and operated by FirstBus.

The £25.3m funding is designed to pave the way for a roll-out of zero-emission buses (ZEBs). It brings total government funding to almost £300m for up to 1,395 zero-emission buses in England.

The funding is an additional investment from the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas scheme (ZEBRA), which was launched in 2021 to allow local transport authorities to bid for funding for zero-emission buses and supporting infrastructure.

The funding will see:

  • 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.

All the additional buses funded through the ZEBRA scheme are battery electric.

Roads minister Richard Holden 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.”

The Department for Transport said zero-emission buses are also often cheaper to run, improving the economics for bus operators.

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.”

The move is part of the government’s wider £3 billion National Bus Strategy.

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