117 zero-emission buses to take to English roads

Nearly 120 new battery electric buses will be deployed in England as part of a £25.3m government investment.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said 117 of the zero-emission vehicles will be rolled out in Yorkshire, Norfolk and Hampshire.

The buses will be manufactured in Northern Ireland by Wrightbus and operated by First Bus.

FirstGroup, an operator of buses and rail in the United Kingdom, said its capital spending would increase to £120-125m in the full year 2024 as it plans to put in an additional £35m to expand the fleet and electrify the infrastructure.

The group secured £25.3m in co-funding from the Zero Emission Buses Regional Area scheme to purchase the vehicles to serve Norfolk County Council; Portsmouth City Council; Hampshire County Council; West Yorkshire Combined Authority and City of York Council.

This brings total government funding to almost £300m for up to 1,395 zero-emission buses across England.

Roads minister Richard Holden said: “Buses are the most popular form of public transport, and these new British-built zero-emission buses will support hundreds of high-quality, manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland, grow our economy and help clean up the air in towns and cities across the country.

“We’re providing an additional £25.3m to roll out 117 new buses to provide residents in Yorkshire, Norfolk and Portsmouth with better, cleaner and quieter journeys, as we step up a gear to reach net zero faster and level up transport across the country.”

FirstGroup’s York and Norwich depots are set to become the UK’s first bus depots outside of London to run fully electric fleets, the company said.

First Bus managing director Janette Bell said: “We are delighted to be accelerating investment in the electrification of our bus fleet and infrastructure, supported by co-funding from the Department for Transport.

“As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are fully aligned with the Government’s ambitions for a net-zero carbon transport system.

“We are rapidly transforming our business with zero-emission bus fleets and will continue to work closely with central and local government across the UK to deliver our decarbonisation plans.” 

Last month, FirstGroup announced it was running the UK’s first zero-emission self-driving bus service on public roads to serve Milton Park, a business, science and technology park located in Oxfordshire.

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Original Source: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2023/03/117-zero-emission-buses-to-take-to-english-roads/

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