National Express aims to lead the way on zero emission buses and coaches

National Express Group has made a bold commitment on zero emission vehicles which it says underlines its vision to become the UK’s most sustainable bus and coach company. The group has pledged not to buy any further diesel buses for its UK operations, and to trial electric coaches as part of a plan to be fully zero emission on buses by 2030, and on coaches by 2035. And the group is also holding its senior executives to account by ensuring that environmental targets make up 25 per cent of their long-term incentive plans.

During 2020, National Express Group will place a major order for electric buses, hold an in-service trial of an electric coach on its Stansted Airport service, and select partners to develop a zero emission vehicle suitable for all long distance coach routes. 

The group also plans to set equally ambitious targets for its overseas businesses. 

“Bus and coach travel is already one of the greenest ways to get around, with each bus removing up to 75 cars from the road,” says Dean Finch, National Express Group chief executive. “National Express has already invested in clean buses and coaches and kept fares low to support a shift from private cars to mass transit. 

“However we understand the imperative to go much further, so we are today setting out an ambition to be the first zero emission transport group in the UK. Our decision to never again buy a diesel bus in the UK coupled with our support in leading the zero emission transition in coach will place our UK operations at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change and poor air quality. We simply believe this is the right thing to do for our customers, the communities we serve and our stakeholders.” 

National Express Group will shortly launch a procurement competition to choose the manufacturers and partners to help achieve its zero emission ambitions. 

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, adds: “National Express have already done a brilliant job of upgrading their buses while keeping prices low, and the West Midlands Combined Authority and I will do all I can to support them to reach their zero-carbon pledge by 2030.” 

In response to the National Express announcement, Darren Shirley, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, commented: “This is a significant and welcome step from a major bus operator. With the pressing need to tackle air pollution and carbon emissions from transport, we cannot afford for this pledge to be a one-off.

“The government’s upcoming National Bus Strategy should include a clear path to zero emissions with deadlines – and support – for all new buses to be electric or hydrogen-powered by 2025, and all buses on the road to be zero-emission by 2035.”