Rural focus for new ZEBRA funding
More government funding for zero-emission buses has been announced, with bids now open for DfT’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) 2 scheme. A particular focus for the scheme will be on helping with the investment in these vehicles and related equipment for rural areas.
ZEBRA 2 is to make £129m available to help local transport authorities introduce hundreds more zero-emission buses. In an effort to make sure more parts of England benefit from green technology, particularly remote areas where building the infrastructure needed for the buses is more expensive, the government has prioritised the first £25m for rural communities.
ZEBRA 2 is now open for bids from all local authorities in England (outside London), with applications to be prioritised from those that did not receive funding in the previous funding rounds.
The Transport Secretary has also announced the launch of a new research hub, backed by £10m in funding from the DfT, National Highways, HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Newcastle University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Cambridge and University of Glasgow have been awarded the funding to establish the Net Zero Transport for a Resilient Future Hub, which is to focus on developing ideas to ensure future transport infrastructure is low-carbon and resilient.
This second phase of the ZEBRA scheme builds on the first round of funding, through which 1,300 zero-emission buses (ZEBs) were funded. Through millions of pounds of investment, the government has met its initial target of funding 4,000 ZEBs with this latest funding.
“We are pleased that the prioritisation of rural bus services in the bidding process recognises the challenges facing these operators” – Alison Edwards, Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Director of Policy
Alison Edwards, Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Director of Policy, said: “We welcome the government’s announcement of further government funding for zero emission buses. Buses have a huge role to play in helping the UK meet its decarbonisation goals.
“We are pleased that the prioritisation of rural bus services in the bidding process recognises the challenges facing these operators. To help tackle these, CPT has established a Rural Zero Emission Bus Taskforce, which will seek to identify practical solutions that are required for rural areas.”
“It’s been fantastic to be at Alexander Dennis and see how our £129 million investment will impact British bus manufacturing” – Bus Minister, Richard Holden
Bus Minister, Richard Holden, has visited Alexander Dennis’ Scarborough facility. He said: “It’s been fantastic to be at Alexander Dennis and see how our £129 million investment will impact British bus manufacturing.
“This brings our total investment in new zero-emission buses to almost £500 million, helping to kick-start a new generation of bus manufacturing in the UK and create good, high-quality jobs from Scarborough to Falkirk.
“We’re leading the way by ensuring that Britain can take advantage of high-skill manufacturing while delivering cleaner public transport for passengers across the country.”
“Our next-generation electric buses are ready to support councils’ ZEBRA 2 bids” – Alexander Dennis President and Managing Director, Paul Davies
Alexander Dennis President and Managing Director, Paul Davies, said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome the minister to our Scarborough factory, which is a prime example of how government investment in zero-emission buses can support communities across the country when it benefits domestic manufacturers like ourselves.
“We provide thousands of skilled jobs and apprenticeship opportunities in an industry that is firmly looking ahead to a sustainable future for us all.
“Our next-generation electric buses are ready to support councils’ ZEBRA 2 bids, including the innovative Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV, which is particularly suited to efficiently provide zero-emission mobility for rural communities.”