The UK government has today (30th March) has started a £120 million scheme to support the roll-out of 500 zero-emission buses, supporting the UK government commitment to add 4,000 zero-emission buses on the roads by the end of this parliament.
The plan is announced through the Zero-Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme and will allow local transport authorities to:
- Bid for funding to purchase zero-emission buses
- Reduce the carbon emissions from their local public transport
- Improve air quality in towns and cities across England
To accelerate the process, the government calls on consortia of local transport authorities, energy companies, bus operators, and manufacturers to join to work up strong cases for funding. The government is inviting expressions of interest for bidding to secure funding by 25th June 2021.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “We’ve set out our vision of how we’re going to make buses better in this country, and now we’re getting on with delivering it.”
The vehicles most likely to be bid for under this fund are battery-electric buses and hydrogen fuel cell buses. Under the scheme, infrastructure is also eligible for funding where the government will contribute up to 75% of the capital expenditure incurred due to its purchase and installation and will be supportive of bids asking for less funding. Examples of the infrastructure include charging equipment and hydrogen re-fuelling systems.
The UK funding is a part of a £3 billion fund announced by the government to improve bus services in its national bus strategy published on 15th March 2021.