Government funding for low-carbon buses

Transport minister Norman Baker has announced that the winners of the second round of the Green Bus Fund competition are to receive £15m of government funding.

The Green Bus Fund was set up to encourage and help bus operators and local authorities buy new hybrid and electric buses. The funding will allow them to purchase around 170 vehicles, which will be operating in most of the UK’s main cities and some rural areas by March 2012.

The top three winners of the competition were Transport for London, which will buy 54 buses with a £5m grant, Stagecoach North East, which will buy 26 buses with a £2.2m grant, and Stagecoach Yorkshire, which will deploy 21 new buses thanks to almost £1.9m in funding.

Baker said: ’Low-carbon buses use at least 30 per cent less fuel and emit nearly a third less carbon than a conventional bus, yet they currently make up just 0.2 per cent of buses on the road. The Green Bus Fund is vital to unlocking this potential and will also stimulate a growing market.’

The first round of the competition saw 24 bidders share £30m, which is helping to support the purchase of around 350 new buses. Buses supported by the scheme are now in operation in Oxford, Manchester and Durham.