Hundreds of new zero emission buses to connect communities in England for Greener Future

zero emission buses news

Hundreds of new zero emission buses to connect communities in England for Greener Future

The UK government has announced £129 million in funding for zero emission buses (ZEBs). The funding will help local transport authorities introduce hundreds of new ZEBs, which will help to reduce air pollution and improve air quality in towns and cities across England.


The Transport Secretary has also announced today the launch of a new research hub, backed by £10 million in funding from the Department for Transport, National Highways, HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The funding will be divided into two parts. The first £25 million will be prioritised for rural communities, where building the infrastructure needed for ZEBs is more expensive. The remaining £104 million will be available to all local authorities in England (outside London).

The funding is part of the government’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. ZEBs are a key part of this plan, as they produce zero emissions and help to improve air quality.

The government has also announced the launch of a new research hub, backed by £10 million in funding. The hub will be led by Newcastle University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Cambridge and University of Glasgow. The hub will develop innovative ideas to ensure future transport infrastructure is low-carbon and resilient.

The funding for ZEBs and the research hub is a significant step forward in the government’s plan to decarbonise transport. The new ZEBs will help to reduce air pollution and improve air quality, while the research hub will help to develop new technologies that will make transport even cleaner and more sustainable in the future.

Here are some additional details about the funding:

  • Towns, villages and cities across England, including the most rural parts of the country, to benefit from new government funding for zero emission buses.
  • Backed by £129 million, the scheme will help grow the economy by supporting green jobs at UK bus manufacturers.
  • Comes as £10 million Net Zero research hub launched, boosting innovation to decarbonise transport and tackle the impacts of climate change.

The government’s commitment to ZEBs is a positive step towards reducing air pollution and improving air quality. The new ZEBs will help to make our towns and cities cleaner and healthier places to live.

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.

“The UK is also cementing its position as a world-leader in net zero tech with this new investment into climate resilience. Our Net Zero transport hub will be a centre of academic excellence, helping us keep our transport network resilient into the future.”

Bus Minister Richard Holden said:

“It’s been fantastic to be at Alexander Dennis and see how our £129 million investment will impact British bus manufacturing.

“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.

“We’re leading the way by ensuring that Britain can take advantage of high-skill manufacturing while delivering cleaner public transport for passengers across the country.”

The second phase of the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme builds on the success of the first round of funding, which saw 1,300 ZEBs funded. Thanks to millions of pounds of investment, the government has met its initial target of funding 4,000 ZEBs. This latest funding announcement brings the country closer to a fully decarbonised fleet.

This is in addition to the £3.5 billion already invested in improving bus services since 2020. The government recently announced a £500 million boost to cap fares at £2 until the end of October 2024 and protect routes into 2025. This is helping people save money on travel and improving transport connections to grow the economy.

Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director, Paul Davies, said:

“It has been a pleasure to welcome the Minister to our Scarborough factory, which is a prime example of how Government investment in zero-emission buses can support communities across the country when it benefits domestic manufacturers like ourselves. We provide thousands of skilled jobs and apprenticeship opportunities in an industry that is firmly looking ahead to a sustainable future for us all.

“Our next-generation electric buses are ready to support councils’ ZEBRA 2 bids, including the innovative Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV that is particularly suited to efficiently provide zero-emission mobility for rural communities.”

Alison Edwards, the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s Director of Policy, said: 

“We welcome the Government’s announcement of further government funding for zero emission buses. Buses have a huge role to play in helping the UK meet its decarbonisation goals.

“We are pleased that the prioritisation of rural bus services in the bidding process recognises the challenges facing these operators. To help tackle these, CPT has established a Rural Zero Emission Bus Taskforce, which will seek to identify practical solutions which are required for rural areas.”

The funding for the research hub will be used to develop new ways of modelling cities and towns, as well as understanding how vital structures such as bridges and rail lines can withstand severe weather events such as flooding. The hub will work with local authorities and industry to identify practical ways to make it easier for people to travel with more options and less disruption.

By establishing the technology in the UK, the research hub will directly create new research jobs and build the talent pool by providing upskilling training to develop a highly skilled workforce.

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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