Multimillion-pound ZEBRA green bus scheme announced

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has launched a multimillion-pound scheme to enable local transport authorities to roll out zero-emission buses.

Up to £120 million is being made available through the zero-emission-buses regional area (ZEBRA) scheme. Through the funding programme, local transport authorities will be able to:

  • bid for funding to purchase zero-emission buses
  • reduce the carbon emissions from their local public transport
  • improve air quality in towns and cities across England

The funding will deliver up to 500 zero-emission buses, supporting the government’s wider commitment to introduce 4,000 zero-emission buses. The funding comes from the wider £3 billion fund announced by the government to improve bus services in the National Bus Strategy.

The government is calling on consortia of local transport authorities, energy companies, bus operators and manufacturers to come together to work up strong cases for funding.

Bidders will have until 21 May 2021 to submit expressions of interest for a fast-track process that the government says will allow local transport authorities with well-developed proposals to move quickly in their bid to secure funding.

However, the government has said it wants all local authorities to have the opportunity to submit bids and, therefore, those who need more time to develop their proposals will have until 25 June 2021 to submit expressions of interest.

CPT’s Head of Policy, Alison Edwards, said: “Today’s announcement is a welcome first step in delivering the Prime Minister’s 4000 zero emission buses pledge and will also provide a welcome boost to bus manufacturers.

“Buses are already amongst the greenest vehicles on our roads contributing only 3% of the UK transport sector’s carbon emissions. To ensure we are on track to deliver net zero by 2050 it is vital that more people travel by bus. This will mean putting buses at the heart of transport networks with measures to improve journeys times at the core of new partnerships with local authorities.”

The announcement comes as the government announces over £30 million of funding to support pioneering research into battery technology, the electric vehicle supply chain and hydrogen vehicles.

Twenty-two studies will receive a share of £9.4 million, 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

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