Scotland aiding smaller operators to go green

Scotland’s Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce has published its Pathway to a zero-carbon bus sector, with the Scottish Government launching a new £500,000 scheme to support its delivery. Entitled the Pathway to Zero Emission Buses, the plan focuses on supporting smaller operators and local authorities, including community and school transport providers.

The Taskforce, made up of leaders from the operating, manufacturing, energy, finance and public sectors, have worked together over the past 18 months to tackle the barriers to a swift roll-out of zero-emission buses. To date, most progress has been made by the largest public service bus operators, and now Scottish Ministers want to make sure smaller operators, and those delivering essential services such as home to school transport, are supported to make the change.

To support this, the Scottish Government has launched a £500,000 Zero Emission Bus Market Transition Scheme, delivered through Energy Saving Trust. This funding will help small and medium sized bus operators, local authorities and community transport organisations assess their options for decarbonisation, and prepare collaborative and competitive business cases ahead of the next multi-million pound phase of ScotZEB – opening in spring 2023.

Smaller operators across Scotland were supported as part of the £62 million ScotZEB allocation in February 2022. This additional funding through the Market Transition Scheme responds to reflections from Taskforce members on the continued ability of smaller operators to compete with larger operators and attract funding at scale. In doing so, the Scottish Government is supporting a just transition to net-zero as part of its Mission Zero for transport, which is planned to ensure small and medium sized organisations can benefit from the transition to a net zero economy.

The pathway report and Market Transition Scheme were launched at the Alexander Dennis Ltd premises in Larbert, where many of the new electric buses funded through ScotZEB will be built.

“It is a huge step for the company and will be a help with the rising cost of fuel and consumables” – William Houston, Owner of Houston’s Coaches in Lockerbie

William Houston, Owner of Houston’s Coaches in Lockerbie, said: “With the funding acquired through the ScotZEB phase 1, Houston’s Coaches are able to introduce zero emissions vehicles on to our fleet, and install charging infrastructure. It is a huge step for the company and will be a help with the rising cost of fuel and consumables. Any further support for small operators would be welcome.”

‘Exciting’ new product due from ADL

Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) used the announcement of the announcement to mention a new product it is working on that aligns with the pathway’s plans.

Alexander Dennis President and Managing Director, Paul Davies, said: “We have been leading the transition to zero-emission mobility for a number of years now, doing what we do best, which is investing in innovation. I am delighted to confirm today we are stepping this up further with our extended plans for new product development, which includes an exciting new product aligning to the pathway’s plans to increase the supply of smaller zero emission buses.

“We pride ourselves on bringing leading products to market that are designed and built in Britain, which allows us to retain our position as innovative leaders of the ZEvolution, the transition to zero emission mobility. Making new product development commitments at this time is an investment into the future through an attractive product line up that will continue to attract orders and underpin jobs in bus manufacturing.”

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