£40m funding to replace diesel buses with electric vehicles given the green light

The Scottish Government has approved funding to replace around 215 diesel buses with low-emission, electric models – and the majority will be built in Falkirk.

As part of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme, bus companies across Scotland have been given a share of £40.5 million to help update their fleets with hybrid vehicles.

The first round of the scheme contributed to the purchase of 57 low-emission buses with £10.1 million and infrastructure for the technology.

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This latest round of funding – which covers up to 75% of the extra cost of electric vehicles compared to diesel versions and 75% of the infrastructure – is estimated to lead to 215 replacement vehicles.

Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson, said: “The Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme continues to help drive a green recovery, responding to the global climate emergency and improving air quality.

“Ensuring a just and fair transition to a net-zero economy is a truly national endeavour and I’m delighted that the Scottish Government’s investment is matched by private investment from bus operators and the finance sector.

“172 of these new buses will be manufactured in Falkirk – benefiting the Scottish bus industry and wider supply chain.

“More journeys are made by bus compared to any other public transport mode and a vibrant bus industry can provide the solutions to complex challenges in our society.

Alexander Dennis bus manufacturers in Falkirk.

“By helping operators to invest in a greener fleet we can support our green recovery – and keep more people moving with fewer carbon emissions and better air quality as a result.”

Paul Davies, managing director of the Alexander Dennis bus manufacturers, said: “The Scottish Government deserves huge credit for leading by example to support bus operator’s commitment to invest in cleaner, greener buses and we are delighted that bids for 172 of our electric buses have been successful.

“These zero-emission buses will be built at our factory in Falkirk and therefore ensure this Scottish Government investment is made domestically, allowing the benefits to be felt across our communities whilst helping to underpin skilled jobs.

“We very much look forward to working with the successful operators to finalise terms and get these vehicles into service at pace.”

Director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) trade association in Scotland, Paul White, added: “This announcement highlights the commitment of Scotland’s bus sector to decarbonisation.

“The £40.5m awarded by Government will be met with investment of over £80m from bus companies to fund these 215 vehicles.

“CPT will continue to work with the Scottish Government to create an operating environment that prioritises sustainable and active travel, frees buses from congestion and maximises the benefits of this investment.”

Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary for the STUC and member of the Just Transition Commission, said: “I am delighted to see that all of the ADL buses will be manufactured in Falkirk.

“This is positive news for the workers who, through their union, have been working hard to achieve this.

“There is no doubt that we need to build on our existing domestic manufacture if we are to ensure that Scotland can be at the forefront of a net-zero industrial revolution.

“This announcement is an example of the kind of interventions we need if we are to embark on a real green recovery.”

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