The Scottish Government has launched a first £50m phase of the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB). It is intended to encourage the market to agree and implement “new and innovative” ways to finance zero-emission buses and it replaces previous funding streams, including the successful Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme.
ScotZEB will provide an immediate economic stimulus and support the Scottish Government’s ambitions to decarbonise the country’s bus fleet. It was unveiled by Transport Minister Graeme Dey at the Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce. That is a forum which brings together senior leaders from the energy, bus and finance sectors to co-design a pathway to a fully decarbonised bus fleet.
Mr Dey says that the initial £50m for ScotZEB is available in 2021. After the results of that round have been evaluated he expects to offer “a larger pot of funding” in 2022 once ScotZEB “demonstrates it success.”
Transport Scotland has advised that it is difficult to predict how many zero-emission buses the £50m may facilitate because the fund “is about attracting new models of finance and to encourage market innovation further to previous approaches.”
Alexander Dennis quickly welcomed the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund. President and Managing Director Paul Davies says: “The Scottish Government continues to lead the way in funding cleaner, greener buses. We look forward to working with bus operators and the energy and finance sectors to ensure the benefits of this funding are felt across communities in Scotland.
“Its investment in local supply chains such as our production of electric and hydrogen buses in Falkirk will underpin skilled jobs and apprenticeships that are vital for the transition to net zero.”