Friday 3 March 2023

£25 Million for British-Made Wrightbus Emission Free Buses Around the Country

Additional DfT funding for an extra 117 vehicles for FirstBus is provided thanks to £25.3 million from UK government.

The latest investment announced on 2 March 2023 will support British manufacturing around the country. The new buses will be manufactured in Northern Ireland by Wrightbus and operated by FirstBus, supporting hundreds of new high-skilled jobs to encourage growth and help level up the economy.

The £25.3 million will pave the way for the government’s ambitious rollout of zero emission buses (ZEBs) and brings total government funding to almost £300 million for up to 1,395 zero emission buses in England. With this new additional funding, it takes the vision of a net zero transport network one step closer to reality.

The funding is an additional investment from the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas scheme (ZEBRA), which was launched in 2021 to allow local transport authorities to bid for funding for zero emission buses and supporting infrastructure.

Thanks to the new investment the councils are now able to help fund more zero emission buses:
Norfolk County Council will receive an extra £11.5 million to deliver 55 additional ZEBs
Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council will receive an extra £6.2 million to deliver 28 additional ZEBs
West Yorkshire Combined Authority will receive an extra £5.7 million to deliver 25 additional ZEBs
City of York Council will receive an extra £1.9 million to deliver 9 additional ZEBs

York and Norwich set to become the UK’s first bus depots outside of London to run fully electric fleets 
First Bus has announced that two of its depots will operate fully electric fleets by March 2024, with York and Norwich set to become the UK’s first bus depots outside of London to reach this milestone. 

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 £25.3 million 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.

Zero-emission buses are also often cheaper to run, improving the economics for bus operators. All these additional buses funded through the ZEBRA scheme are battery electric.

Janette Bell, Managing Director at First Bus 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.

The move is part of the government’s wider £3 billion National Bus Strategy to significantly improve bus services, with lower and simpler fares, more integrated ticketing and higher frequencies.

Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme funding amounts 2021/22/23 here