Coalition urges Government to speed up zero-emission bus rollout

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A coalition representing bus operators, local authorities, manufacturers and workers has called on the Government to speed up its zero-emission bus rollout or risk missing key targets.

In a letter sent to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the signatories call for the Government to use the forthcoming Spending Review to set out a clear roadmap to deliver significantly more buses on an accelerated timetable and ensure funding reflects the full costs of zero-emission vehicle purchase and installation of infrastructure.

The Government has so far provided funding to support the delivery of 900 buses out of the Prime Minister’s target of 4,000 by February 2025. The letter warns that without a long-term roadmap meeting the Prime Minister’s pledge will be extremely challenging and the wider transition to zero emission buses more problematic.

Commenting on the letter, CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler said: “Operators are committed to transitioning to zero-emission fleets, but this requires long-term planning, especially around infrastructure requirements. By setting out a fully funded, long-term plan the Government will give all those involved the confidence to invest meaning we can make progress towards the shared goal of decarbonising fleets as cost effectively as possible. Without it the industry and wider supply chain has to react to short term uncoordinated funding announcements risking missed targets, increased costs and ultimately a bigger bill for taxpayers.”

Urban Transport Group Director Jonathan Bray added: “An accelerated, long-term and funded plan for the decarbonisation of the UK’s bus fleet will create good green jobs and make a vital contribution to the urgent task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions from urban transport. Continuing to fund zero-emission buses via sporadic funding pots which local authorities have to waste time and resources competing for is yesterday’s solution to an urgent problem of today. Instead we need a coordinated and funded plan which encompasses both the vehicles and the supporting green energy infrastructure to give the decarbonisation of the bus fleet the same priority that the Government is giving to decarbonising cars.”

The letter also highlighted the benefits to the zero-emission transition and wider climate change goals of delivering the roadmap alongside a range of measures to encourage people to switch journeys from car to bus.