• Multimillion-pound package to deliver huge fleet of electric and hydrogen-powered buses across England.
  • Nearly 1,000 more zero-emission buses to be funded in towns and cities across the country
  • A further 600 zero-emission buses have been funded in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Comes as consultation launched on ending sale of all new non-zero emission buses from 2025 to 2032

Transport secretary Grant Shapps

Transport secretary Grant Shapps

Government funding of £200m announced at the weekend (March 26) will see nearly 1,000 green buses rolled out across the UK. Twelve areas in England, from Greater Manchester to Portsmouth, will receive grants from the multimillion-pound package to deliver electric or hydrogen-powered buses, as well as charging or fuelling infrastructure, to their region.

The funding comes from the Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (Zebra) scheme, which was launched last year to allow local transport authorities to bid for funding to purchase zero-emission buses.

The £198.3 million of funding will provide 943 buses. It follows £71 million announced last year to support up to 335 new zero-emission buses in five areas; a further £50 million funding for the UK’s first All Electric Bus City, Coventry, supporting up to 300 buses; 100 buses funded by previous funding schemes. Hundreds more zero emission buses have been funded in London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The government has committed to fund a total of 4,000 zero-emission buses across the country. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ”I will level up and clean up our transport network. That’s why I’ve announced hundreds of millions of pounds to roll out zero- emission buses nationwide.

”Not only will this improve the experience of passengers, but it will help support our mission to fund 4,000 of these cleaner buses, reach net zero emissions by 2050 and build back greener.

”Today’s announcement is part of our National Bus Strategy, which will introduce lower fares, helping drive down the cost of public transport even further for passengers.”

The move is expected to remove over 57,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from the country’s air, as well as 22 tonnes of nitrogen oxides on average each year.

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

Jobs in the bus manufacturing industry – based largely in Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England – will be supported as a result of the move. Zero-emission buses are also cheaper to run, improving the economics for bus operators.

Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: ”We recognise the scale of the challenge the world faces in reaching net zero. That’s why reducing emissions and creating green jobs lies at the heart of our transport agenda.

”Today’s multimillion-pound investment is an enormous step towards a cleaner future, helping ensure transport is fit for generations to come and allowing millions of people to get around in a way that is kinder to our environment.

The areas whose business cases were approved and will be receiving funding are:

  • Norfolk
  • North Yorkshire
  • Portsmouth
  • Blackpool
  • Nottingham
  • Greater Manchester
  • Hertfordshire
  • South Yorkshire
  • Oxfordshire
  • West Midlands
  • York
  • West Yorkshire

Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach chief executive, said: ”We welcome today’s announcement, which will complement the significant investment and initiatives by operators as we work together to transition to a zero emission bus fleet and help the country achieve its net zero ambitions.

”Stagecoach has already started its journey towards our target of a fully zero-emission UK bus fleet by 2035, and there is also a major opportunity to deliver cleaner air by people switching to more sustainable public transport, cycling and walking.

”Britain’s buses have an exciting future ahead, helping decarbonise the country, as well as driving economic recovery and levelling up our communities.”

Government funding of Transport for London has supported the introduction of 300 zero-emission buses in London. Around 600 zero- emission buses have been funded in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as a result of the block grant to the devolved administrations.