Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV (5)

New funding of £129m has been announced by the government to help local transport authorities introduce hundreds more zero-emission buses.

To make sure more parts of England benefit from green technology, particularly remote areas where building the infrastructure needed for the buses is more expensive, the government has prioritised the first £25m for rural communities.

The Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) 2 scheme is now open for bids from all local authorities in England (outside London), with applications to be prioritised from those that did not receive funding in the previous funding rounds.

The new funding was announced by the transport secretary Mark Harper during a visit to the bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis.

He said: “Today’s funding for more zero-emission buses will help decarbonise public transport and grow the economy by keeping our communities connected. We have already reached our initial target of funding at least 4,000 zero emission buses and this additional funding will improve journeys for even more passengers, reaching those in the most remote areas.”

Bus minister Richard Holden said: “It’s been fantastic to be at Alexander Dennis and see how our £129m investment will impact British bus manufacturing.

“This brings our total investment in new zero-emission buses to almost £500m, helping to kick-start a new generation of bus manufacturing in the UK and create good, high-quality jobs from Scarborough to Falkirk.

“We’re leading the way by ensuring that Britain can take advantage of high-skill manufacturing while delivering cleaner public transport for passengers across the country.

Alexander Dennis president and managing director Paul Davies said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome the minister to our Scarborough factory, which is a prime example of how government investment in zero-emission buses can support communities across the country when it benefits domestic manufacturers like ourselves.

“We provide thousands of skilled jobs and apprenticeship opportunities in an industry that is firmly looking ahead to a sustainable future for us all.

“Our next-generation electric buses are ready to support councils’ ZEBRA 2 bids, including the innovative Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV, which is particularly suited to efficiently provide zero-emission mobility for rural communities.”