As part of its drive to embrace its legal obligation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the Government has reaffirmed and updated its 10-point plan to decarbonise the economy and help deliver its net-zero goal.
As already announced, it will invest £4.2 billion in city public transport and £5 billion on buses, cycling and walking, and create integrated bus and train networks in more places, with smart ticketing, more frequent services, and bus lanes to speed journeys. The Government has now confirmed that £120 million has been pledged to begin the introduction of at least 4,000 more British-built zero emission buses, representing 12% of the local operator fleets across England.
Early next year the Government says it will publish the first-ever National Bus Strategy, funded through the £5 billion of new money for buses and cycling announced by the Prime Minister, including more frequent and cheaper ‘superbus’ networks and integrated ticketing between operators and modes.
At least two all-electric bus towns will be created, beginning this financial year, as well as developing the first fully zero-emission city centre.
Manufacturer Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) welcomed the Government’s plan and the commitment to invest £120 million to begin the introduction of at least 4,000 more British built zero emission buses. ADL said it eagerly awaits the publication of the National Bus Strategy and further detail of the two all-electric bus towns and the first fully zero-emission city centre.
With demand for new vehicles declining in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the firm says that inaction to date has put thousands of green jobs in bus manufacturing and the wider supply chain at risk, suppressing an industry that will play a pivotal role in the UK’s green recovery. To realise the benefits of this announcement, says ADL, orders need to be placed imminently to ensure delivery as early as possible in 2021.
Paul Davies, ADL President & Managing Director, said: “This is the very first step in honouring commitments to invest in green buses and will bring back much-needed demand in a sector whose expertise and capacity is essential as the United Kingdom seeks to build a more sustainable future. “An investment in British built green buses is an investment in British communities that benefits the nation’s economy. As the industry’s leader we remain eager to see this announcement become a reality and put thousands of zero-emission vehicles on Britain’s roads. We stand ready to help drive the nation’s green recovery.”