£129m announced to fund local authorities’ acquisition of zero emission buses

The Transport Secretary has announced that the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme is being relaunched with a pot of £129m to help local authorities decarbonise local bus services.

The first round of funding put 1,300 new zero emission buses on the road, enabling the government to meet its initial target of funding 4,000 ZEBs.

To make sure more parts of England benefit from the green technology, particularly remote areas where building the infrastructure needed for the buses is more expensive, the government has prioritised the first £25 million for rural communities.

Similarly, LAs who did not receive any financial assistance in the original funding round will also be given priority in this round. 

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: ‘Todays’ funding for more zero emission buses will help decarbonise public transport and grow the economy by keeping our communities connected. We have already reached our initial target of funding at least 4,000 zero emission buses and this additional funding will improve journeys for even more passengers, reaching those in the most remote areas.’

Bus Minister Richard Holden added: ‘This brings our total investment in new zero-emission buses to almost £500 million, helping to kick-start a new generation of bus manufacturing in the UK and create good, high-quality jobs from Scarborough to Falkirk.’

Also announced was the establishment of the Net Zero Transport for a Resilient Future Hub, where Newcastle University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Cambridge and University of Glasgow will develop innovative ideas to ensure future transport infrastructure is low-carbon and resilient.

The Hub is backed by £10m in funding from the Department for Transport, National Highways, HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and UK Research and Innovation. It will be used to develop new ways of modelling cities and towns, and understanding how vital structures such as bridges and rail lines can handle severe weather events such as flooding.

The hub will work with local authorities and industry to identify practical opportunities to make it easier for people to travel with greater choice and less disruption.

Professor Miles Padgett, Interim Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UKRI, said: ‘A well-functioning low-carbon transport infrastructure is vital to sustain communities and economies. This investment in the climate-resilient development of our transport system will keep the UK at the forefront of the green industrial revolution and accelerate the transition to a secure and prosperous green economy.’

Professor Phil Blythe CBE, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems and head of the Future Mobility Group, Newcastle University, said: ‘We are delighted to be awarded the hub, which will be the national focus for research into how we decarbonise and make resilient our transport infrastructure.

‘The hub will engage widely to bring together the leading academics from across the UK and their civic and industry partners so we can focus on understanding the underpinning science and engineering to enable us to tackle these real challenges and provide the models that will help us understand the impact and find the most appropriate solutions.’



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