HSE delays Fastway hydrogen fleet for two years

Two thirds of the flagship hydrogen fleet launched last summer by Go-Ahead on Brighton & Hove’s Fastway services has been grounded by red tape, and Liverpool’s hydrogen fleet is also facing hydrogen shortages.

The fleet of 20 Wrights Hydroliner Kite single-decks were heralded as the ZE future, offering greater range than battery-electric buses, but the liquid hydrogen infrastructure already built cannot be operated until approved by the Health & Safety Executive, which has sat on the application for two years.

“We are currently able to run a proportion of our hydrogen fleet on the Fastway services, normally about 7 or 8 on a daily basis,” said a Ed Wills, Managing Director of Brighton & Buses and Metrobus. “However, all 20 hydrogen buses will not be able to operate until we are given sign-off by the Healthy & Safety Executive (HSE) to use the liquid hydrogen refuelling system that is at the depot.

“The technology is in place and ready to go but the HSE have yet to provide regulatory approval and in turn are holding back the full environmental benefits of this project to deliver zero emission services in Crawley using entirely green hydrogen.

Will added: “Our application was submitted for consideration in March 2022 and typically there is a 12-month process. This means we’re left the temporary solution of transporting in hydrogen and refuelling buses from a mobile solution.

“If the UK is serious about its decarbonisation targets we need a better appreciation that alternative fuels will be required and while of course this needs to be done safely, the HSE need to be able to better support the transition or we will be stuck using diesel for decades to come.”

Liverpool City Region has confirmed that it also has problems with hydrogen supply. In answer to a B&CB inquiry, a spokesman said: “Global hydrogen supply issues have meant the roll-out of vehicles has been slower than originally planned but the LCRCA has secured an interim supply of hydrogen fuel, allowing the buses to run on a limited number of passenger services.

“We expect this interim supply to increase over the coming months so that driver training can continue, and more hydrogen buses can be phased in on the 10/10A route between St Helens and Liverpool City Centre. Advanced talks to deliver a long-term supply of fuel – as well as a future pathway to 100% sustainable green hydrogen – are ongoing.”

The spokesman has confirmed that just two vehicles are being operated.


(Photo courtesy Roger French, Bus and Train User)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses some unobtrusive cookies to store information on your computer, these are in place to ensure that you receive the best possible experience when using the Bus & Coach Buyer website.