A coalition representing bus operators, local authorities, manufacturers and workers has called on the UK government to speed up its zero emission bus rollout or risk missing key targets.
In a letter sent to the secretary of state for transport and the chief secretary to the treasury the signatories call for the government to use the forthcoming spending review to set out a clear roadmap to deliver significantly more buses on an accelerated timetable and ensure funding reflects the full costs of zero emission vehicle purchase and installation of infrastructure.
To date, the government has only provided funding to support the delivery of 900 buses, according to the organisations behind the call who point out that this is well short of the prime minister’s target of 4,000 by February 2025. The letter warns that without a long-term roadmap meeting the prime minister’s pledge will be extremely challenging and the wider transition to zero emission buses more problematic.
CPT chief executive Graham Vidler says: “Operators are committed to transitioning to zero emission fleets, but this requires long-term planning, especially around infrastructure requirements. By setting out a fully funded, long-term plan the Government will give all those involved the confidence to invest meaning we can make progress towards the shared goal of decarbonising fleets as cost effectively as possible.”
Urban Transport Group director Jonathan Bray adds: “Continuing to fund zero emission buses via sporadic funding pots which local authorities have to waste time and resources competing for is yesterday’s solution to an urgent problem of today. Instead we need a coordinated and funded plan (which encompasses both the vehicles and the supporting green energy infrastructure) to give the decarbonisation of the bus fleet the same priority that the Government is giving to decarbonising cars.”