The Scottish Government has awarded £7.4m through the first round of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme.
The initiative helps bus operators invest in ultra-low emission vehicles and infrastructure and supports a green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, helping towards Scotland’s ambitions for a net-zero economy and improved air quality.
The funding means that 41 ultra-low emission buses will be supported across five bids. 35 of the buses will be built in Scotland by Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL).
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme is providing economic stimulus to help drive a green recovery, responding to the climate emergency whilst improving air quality. I’m pleased that 35 of these new buses will be manufactured in Scotland, helping to support jobs and our bus manufacturing sector.
“366 million bus journeys were made in 2019, which demonstrates the value of our bus sector and supply chain in keeping Scotland moving. It also reinforces the key role that buses play every day in supporting the wider vision outlined in our National Transport Strategy.
“To help support bus operators and passengers, we’re also providing up to £109m to increase and maintain bus services and £10m for bus priority infrastructure measures. In addition, we have maintained concessionary travel payments and Bus Service Operator Grants at pre-Covid levels and have provided £9.75m to fund exhaust retrofits and help with the costs in moving to Low Emission Zones.”
John Bynorth from Environmental Protection Scotland, and coordinator for Scotland’s Clean Air Day on Thursday 8 October 2020, said: “We welcome this funding announcement of support for 41 ultra-low emission buses which will help continue to drive forward the improvements in air quality in Scotland’s towns and cities.
“It is vital that people are encouraged to get back on buses once the Covid-19 crisis is over and are aware of the environmental benefits of leaving the car at home.
“Cleaner, greener buses and good transport infrastructure, such as bus lanes to speed up bus journey times, all play an important part in Scotland’s sustainable economic recovery after Covid-19.”
ADL welcomed the announcement. Three of the winning proposals were made with ADL as the intended supplier and the company will now work with successful bidders First Glasgow, Xplore Dundee and McGill’s Buses to finalise contracts for these zero-emission buses. ADL President & Managing Director, Paul Davies commented: “As Britain’s leading manufacturer of clean buses, we welcome the Scottish Government’s award of funding for ultra-low emission buses, which will contribute to Scotland’s green recovery.
“This is a much appreciated first step in stimulating urgently needed demand for new buses and we look forward to building 35 electric buses here in Scotland. Delivering cleaner air and reducing carbon emissions, they will set a great example for further investment in a better future for all. At ADL, we have the capacity, skilled team and commitment to build the many more low, ultra-low and zero-emission buses which our nation needs now.”
ADL will manufacture the buses locally in Scotland, supporting skilled jobs and apprenticeships as well as its wider Scottish supply chain which will also benefit from Lothian Buses’ separate confirmation of its intent to continue with an order originally placed in 2019 for the purchase of 98 Euro VI double-deck buses, which ADL will build in Falkirk on Volvo chassis.