Lothian sets out road to net zero

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Lothian’s Central depot will be the first to move towards a zero-emission fleet. JONATHAN WELCH

The Edinburgh operator has laid out its plans to move to a zero-emission fleet across its city and regional operations

In what the operator describes as ‘an exciting next chapter’ in its journey to reduce emissions and achieve ambitious net zero goals, Lothian Buses has launched its ‘Lothian: Driving towards Net Zero.’ strategy outlining its plans over the coming years to move to a non-diesel fleet.

The strategy takes a phased and structured approach, coupled with partnership working and funding opportunities, which the company says will ultimately deliver a significant switch from conventional diesel to zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure.

“Lothian’s decarbonisation plan is hugely exciting for us as an operator but also for the city and the communities we serve. As the main bus operator in Edinburgh, we are fully committed to ensuring we play our part in reducing emissions across Edinburgh and the Lothians, ultimately becoming fully net zero by 2035. We’re thrilled to be able to share the details of these plans which have been a long time in the making,” said Colin Barnes, Lothian’s Engineering Director.

The first phase of the strategy, lasting from now until the end of 2025, is dedicated to fleet investment an infrastructure. Lothian says its existing fleet replacement programme has seen the removal of around 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from its carbon footprint in a 10-year period, and a significant investment has already been committed for the purchase of new double-deck electric vehicles together with the required infrastructure for its Central and Marine depots.

Lothian says it is still considering options when it comes to vehicle types and operational strategy, which could include fully electric buses with overnight charging capability that will cover the entire daily service with one charge, hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles that will be refuelled at the end of service, or fully electric buses with opportunity charging facilities along its routes.

The operator also says it will announce ‘an exciting and innovative scoping project’ which will explore the feasibility of repowering mid-life diesel buses with electric drivelines to allow for potential acceleration of its net zero plan.

Lothian Chief Engineer Colin Barnes. LOTHIAN