Bias against hydrogen buses challenged
UK government has a ‘deliberate’ and ‘misjudged’ bias against hydrogen buses in its pursuit of decarbonising public transport, according to a campaign group.
Spearheaded by Jacob Young MP, Chair of the Hydrogen All Party Parliamentary Group, a letter has been submitted to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying a decision to only trial electric buses does not maximise opportunities on offer. The letter is signed by a number of organisations looking to grow the UK’s hydrogen economy, including energy giants Shell and Bosch, as well as the Campaign for Better Transport and local authority clean air network UK100. It also calls for an All Hydrogen Bus Town.
The Group notes the government’s Electric Bus Town project announced earlier this year explicitly prohibits hydrogen electric buses being purchased in this plan. This is despite what the organisation claims is a growing demand for them across the country. The letter describes this decision as missing “a vital opportunity to trial clean, green, UK-made technology at a significant scale”.
Buta Atwal, Chief Executive of Wrightbus, said: “We have created the world’s first hydrogen electric double decker bus, which emits only water as they move around cities.
“These buses will enter London and Aberdeen this year, with more cities after that. It is bizarre that a British designed and built bus is not eligible to be bought by a local council under this Government scheme.”
Eman Martin-Vignerte, head of Bosch’s UK Governmental and Political Relationships, said: “At Bosch, we believe that hydrogen will play a major role in heating homes, powering transport and heavy industry. We are already manufacturing hydrogen-ready boilers at our site in the West Midlands, and we’re looking to the government to take some ambitious, positive steps to help unlock the UK’s hydrogen potential. Creating an All Hydrogen Bus Town would be a powerful statement to businesses looking to make long term investment decisions.”
Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar and Chair of the Hydrogen APPG said: “Decarbonising public transport is one of the cornerstones in achieving our net zero carbon emissions target. We can’t have our eggs all in one basket and it’s important that we look at alternative fuels like hydrogen as a way of achieving this.
“Hydrogen stands to play a major role in a zero emission economy and creating an All Hydrogen Bus Town provides the opportunity for thousands of green jobs, in areas like Teesside, and will unlock innovation in a number of sectors, placing the UK as global leaders in hydrogen technology.
“We cannot allow coronavirus to knock us off course to achieving net zero, and delivering an All Hydrogen Bus Town would be a hugely symbolic indication to businesses across the world, that the UK continues to be the place to invest, research and manufacture hydrogen technologies.”