The UK government has announced it will allocate £48m for an ultra-low emission bus scheme in England and Wales. The initiative was first introduced in 2016 as part of the government's overall strategy to reduce emissions nationwide.
Local authorities and independent operators have now been informed that they can bid on a share of the £48m fund which they can use to buy hundreds of new ultra-low emission buses that have been produced. It can also use the money it receives to invest in the infrastructure that is required to support the buses.
The introduction of this latest scheme follows on the success of a similar low emission bus scheme that subsequently led to 13 organizations receiving more than £30m between them. Statistics indicated that the investment resulted in around 300 new low-emission buses being deployed on the road by 2019.
Tory transport minister, Nusrat Ghani said the investment reiterates the government's commitment to protecting the environment and tackling the issues presented by harmful carbon emissions.
Ghani said, "We are doing more than ever before to reduce greenhouse gas pollution across all modes of transport and we are committed to ensuring nearly all cars and vans are emissions-free at their tailpipes by 2050. In order to achieve this ambitious target, the transport sector is going to have to change dramatically over the next couple of decades - and buses are no exception. We are confident this scheme will encourage councils and operators to invest in these ultra-low emission vehicles - speeding up the full transition to a low emission bus fleet in England and Wales."
The current funding comes as part of a wider £100m scheme that was first announced in November 2016 to support the deployment of low-emission buses. CEO of Greener Journeys, Claire Haigh has praised the government for its investment in green buses.
She said, "We're delighted that the government has recognized the important and vital role that buses play in helping reduce harmful emissions. The cleanest diesel buses emit fewer emissions overall than the cleanest diesel cars, despite being able to carry 20 times more passengers. Buses are also the lifeblood of our communities, connecting families and getting people to work. Today's announcement sends a positive message that the Government is serious about connecting the communities it serves and committed to putting the bus at the heart of the clean air solution."
In December, it was officially announced that the UK would host a zero-emission vehicle summit in September 2018.