Last week the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed that it was creating a new initiative to help fund the adoption of efficient and environmentally friendly buses across the UK.
In total £48 million will be available under the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme, with several funding rounds opening up over the course of the next three years to help distribute it evenly to councils and private operators nationwide.
Support & Cashback
Organisations that apply for a share of the cash will be able to claim up to half of the cost of buying buses designed to produce much lower emissions than traditional diesel-powered equivalents. They will also be able to get significant support to install the tools they need to keep these vehicles operational, including charging points for hybrid and electric models.
The more sustainable and efficient the bus, the greater the contribution that the operator will be able to see when signing up for this scheme.
At the moment the cleanest possible category that a bus can fall into will mean that it emits almost a third less harmful gasses than a rival model with a Euro 6 compliant diesel engine on board.
DfT spokesperson Nusrat Ghani said that cutting carbon emissions was a key aim for the government, especially in relation to tackling this issue in the transport sector.
He said that over the course of the coming years, significant changes will hit this sector and by the middle of the century all trucks and buses will have zero emissions. By incentivising investment in these vehicles, the government will make sure that the UK can keep up with the rest of Europe in the drive for lower levels of pollution and better air quality.
Low-Emission & Eco-Friendly Buses
An early round of funding for the low-emissions buses enabled 300 such vehicles to enter service in several parts of the country. And later this year a national summit will be held to draw the focus on to developments in the zero-emissions technology segment of the auto industry.
Reading Buses is just one of the operators to have rolled out low-emissions vehicles as part of its fleet. Last month it began trialling 17 biogas buses built by the Swedish truck maker Scania, all of which are being used on one of the most popular routes through the town.
These low-emissions buses are the first of their kind to be deployed in such a prominent role in Britain and will pave the way for further investment.
Scania spokesperson Mark Oliver said that his firm was aiming to help its customers switch to cleaner and greener modes of transport, with biogas being one of the most practical power train options available today.
Unlike all electric vehicles, a gas-based truck or bus can benefit from a range and power level that is equal to a comparable diesel model. So until battery capacities improve, such vehicles may be the best option for urban operations as well as for usage in longer-distance transport.