The Scottish and UK governments have announced new funding schemes to support the rollout of zero emission buses in Scotland and England respectively. The UK scheme, which only covers England, is worth £120million and plans to fund up to 500 ZE buses, while the Scottish scheme, which is the second round of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS) is worth £40.5million designed to help replace 215 diesel buses.
On the face of it, the Scottish scheme is considerably more generous with an average of £188,000 per bus replaced, compared to £24,000 in England, although clearly the costs are not evenly split among bids and the costs include infrastructure in many cases. The SULEBS programme is the second tranche and follows an earlier £10.5million awarded to operators in autumn 2020. Bids for both phases have been published with First Glasgow winning the biggest share of £24.3million. This has resulted in the largest EV order to date for Alexander Dennis in Scotland of 126 BYD ADL buses which takes the First Glasgow fleet to a total of 150 electric buses.
UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said that its Zero Emissions Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme would enable local transport authorities to roll out zero emission buses, as the Government continues to build back greener. Under the England scheme, local transport authorities are being invited to bid for the funding to reduce the carbon emissions from their local public transport and to improve air quality in towns and cities across England.
And to ensure the funding from today’s zero emission bus fund is used quickly to help provide British bus manufacturers with an injection of orders, the government is calling on a consortia of local transport authorities, energy companies, bus operators and manufacturers to come together with bidders having until 21 May 2021 to submit expressions of interest for a fast track process.
“The launch of the scheme means we’re giving businesses and local authorities the tools to help deliver the 4,000 zero emission buses we said we would introduce, which will dramatically improve air quality in towns and cities across the country, helping us achieve our net-zero ambitions,” says Schapps.
The UK government’s scheme comes alongside funding already committed to Coventry for its All-Electric Bus City, and more than £30million to support research into battery technology, the electric vehicle supply chain and hydrogen vehicles. Twenty-two studies will receive a share of £9.4million, including proposals to build a plant in Cornwall that will extract lithium for use in electric vehicle batteries, a plant to build specialised magnets for electric vehicle motors in Cheshire and lightweight hydrogen storage for cars and vans in Loughborough.
In Scotland, the government says that its £40.5million will be matched by more than £80million from bus companies to fund 215 vehicles.
Scottish cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson says: “The Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme continues to help drive a green recovery, responding to the global climate emergency and improving air quality.
“Ensuring a just and fair transition to a net-zero economy is a truly national endeavour and I’m delighted that the Scottish Government’s investment is matched by private investment from bus operators and the finance sector. 172 of these new buses will be manufactured in Falkirk – benefitting the Scottish bus industry and wider supply chain.
“Our bus decarbonisation work, both through SULEBS and the Taskforce, is part of a wider package of support for our bus industry – including long-term funding of over £500million for bus priority infrastructure. We’re also providing support of up to £191.3million to help maintain essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic and help keep Scotland moving.”
Scotland ZE funding
SULEBS Round 1 – August – September 2020
Bid: 22 single deck ADL E200 buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded: £3,870,374
Bid: 12 double deck ADL E400 buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded: £1,946,727
McGill’s Bus Service
Bid: 1 single deck ADL E200, 22 single deck Yutong E12 buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded: £3,938,827
Bid: Infrastructure only
Total funding awarded: £383,484
Orkney Islands Council
SULEBS Round 2 – January – February 2021
Bid: 35 single deck ADL, 91 double deck ADL buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £24,301,840
McGill’s Bus Service
Bid: 33 single deck Yutong buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £6,011,718
Bid: 6 single deck Yutong, 4 single deck arrival buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £1,302,634
Bid: 15 single deck ADL buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £2,666,359
Bid: 9 single deck ADL buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £2,181,663
Bid: 22 double deck ADL buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £4,079,134