COVENTRY is set to receive up to £50million after being chosen by the Government to become one of the UK’s first all-electric bus cities.
As part of the award, up to 500 of the city’s buses could be replaced, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2 each year and helping the country build back greener.
Transport Secretary made the announcement today that Coventry, along with Oxford, had fought off tough competition from 19 other towns and cities in the UK.
The cities are developing business cases in an England-wide competition to switch an entire town or city’s bus fleet to electric vehicles.
Subject to successful business cases, each area could be awarded up to £50million to not only replace its entire fleet of buses with all-electric versions, but to also install new infrastructure, such as charging stations, and pay for electric grid updates.
The change to a cleaner and greener bus fleet will help improve air quality and reduce emissions, helping further deliver on the Government’s efforts to decarbonise the transport network, as well as support local businesses and jobs in the UK developing green buses.
Mr Schapps said: “As we build back greener from Covid-19, we can provide people with more environmentally-friendly transport and cleaner air.
“Coventry and Oxford could soon be at the forefront of our plans for a new era of bus services, helping us develop the green transport network of the future and support jobs right here in the UK.”
Applicants successfully demonstrated a buy-in from stakeholders in their local areas, outlined their existing plans to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality and show how the plan would tackle an existing air quality problem.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This news is brilliant for Coventry and the West Midlands, and I am delighted the Secretary of State and his department have once again put their faith in our region to deliver.
“Turning all of Coventry’s bus fleet electric is not only a major boost to public transport in the city, but it will also help tackle the climate emergency we face both here in the West Midlands and the wider UK.”
Coun Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council, said: “This is excellent news.
“In the summer I joined the council leader George Duggins to see close up some of the first electric buses.
“They look fantastic, and with no emissions they are much better for the environment
“We already have excellent partnership working with bus companies like National Express Coventry and together we have been striving to make our public transport network better, greener and cleaner.
“The council’s local air quality plan is all about embracing new technologies and making improvements that have a long-lasting impact on those that live and work here, and visit the city. That’s exactly what an all-electric bus fleet will help deliver.”
“We already have one of the largest networks of electric vehicle charge points in any city outside London, and other great schemes that feature and promote electric vehicle use.
“Becoming an all-electric bus city is a fantastic way of helping us to build on this work.”
The government will work with the two local authorities to finalise their business cases over the coming weeks.
The all-electric bus towns and cities competition is part of a wider package of measures to improve services and make bus journeys greener, easier and more reliable.
In February 2020 the government announced £5billion for a new era for buses and active travel.
The UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy will be launched in the coming months to ensure buses are prioritised into the future.