UK government funding to bring zero-emission buses to Northern England’s roads

Posted: 2 March 2023 | | No comments yet

As part of the UK government’s £25.3 million investment to achieve a net zero transport network, 117 British-built zero-emission buses will be rolled out across Yorkshire, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampshire.

UK government funding to bring zero-emission buses to Northern England's roads

Credit: First Bus

The UK government has announced that people in Yorkshire, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampshire will enjoy greener, cleaner journeys as an extra 117 zero-emission buses are rolled out due to £25.3 million government funding.

This latest investment will support British manufacturing around the country. The new buses will be manufactured in Northern Ireland by Wrightbus and operated by FirstBus, supporting hundreds of new high-skilled jobs to encourage growth and help level up the economy.

In addition, the £25.3 million will pave the way for the government’s ambitious roll-out of zero-emission buses (ZEBs) and brings the total government funding to almost £300 million 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 had been launched in 2021 to allow local transport authorities to bid for funding for zero-emission buses and supporting infrastructure.

Due to the new investment, the councils are now able to purchase more zero-emission buses:

  • Norfolk County Council will receive an extra £11.5 million to deliver 55 additional ZEBs
  • Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council will receive an extra £6.2 million to deliver 28 additional ZEBs
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) will receive an extra £5.7 million to deliver 25 additional ZEBs
  • City of York Council will receive an extra £1.9 million to deliver 9 additional ZEBs.

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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 £25.3 million 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.”

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 move is part of the UK government’s wider £3 billion National Bus Strategy to significantly improve bus services, with lower and simpler fares, more integrated ticketing and higher frequencies.