William Eichler 29 August 2017

Councils awarded £11m for green buses

Councils awarded £11m for green buses image

Local authorities and bus companies have been awarded more than £10m to help them purchase low emission buses.

The Department of Transport has announced the funding will be provided to successful bidders in Bristol, York, Brighton, Surrey, Denbighshire and Wiltshire under the Government’s low emission bus scheme.

The councils and bus companies who put in successful bids for the funding will purchase 153 new electric and gas buses in total. They will also install stations to fuel or charge them.

Denbighshire County Council, for example, received £500,000 for four electric buses to be used on services in mid-Denbighshire. South Gloucestershire Council got £4.8m for 110 gas buses for services around Bristol.

The announcement follows the publication of the Government’s air quality plan last month.

‘Low emission buses are an important part of our plans to make motoring cleaner and improve air quality across the country,’ said transport minister Paul Maynard.

‘New greener buses will be more comfortable for passengers, they are cost efficient and are good for the environment.’

‘I am pleased to announce this latest group of successful bidders, which should make a real difference to air quality in towns and cities across the country,’ added Mr Maynard.

Responding to the announcement, Chris Todd, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: 'Clean buses are an important part of making the air we breathe safe. However, whilst this funding is welcome, it is just a drop in the ocean to what is needed to make a real change.

'Buses are also important for the economy and if properly prioritised can provided a solution to congestion in our towns and cities.

'Too many people are still trying to drive into our city centres and much more needs to be done to reduce this, as well as looking at better incentives for diesel car owners to convert to low emission vehicles.'

The Government’s support for low emission buses is one part of a £600m package of measures from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles by 2020.

Whitehall also committed in the 2016 Autumn Statement to spending £270m on the roll out of low emission cars, taxis and buses and supporting infrastructure.

However, there have been warnings that the Government’s air quality plans ‘unfairly’ shifts the burden of tackling air pollution onto ‘over-stretched’ local authorities.

Read our feature on the challenges facing councils when designing and implementing clean air zones.

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