£9.75m made available in latest round of Scottish BEAR Fund

Scottish BEAR fund

The Scottish government has awarded over £9.75m to coach and bus operators in Scotland for the retrofit of 594 vehicles to Euro VI in 2020/2021, Transport Scotland has announced.

The latest tranche of money in the Bus Emission Abatement Retrofit (BEAR) Fund builds on previous funding which in phases one and two retrofitted 164 coaches and buses to Euro VI.

The push to get coaches and buses Low Emission Zone (LEZ) compliant is hoped act as an economic stimulus and drive a green recovery post-coronavirus COVID-19.

Says Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson: “The BEAR Fund benefits Scottish retrofit businesses, our wider coach and bus sector and helps protect public health. It’s a high-impact fund which provides a powerful combination of immediate economic stimulus to our valued coach and bus sector and supply chain, while supporting our strategic air quality objectives by helping operators to comply with forthcoming Low Emission Zones.

“Buses are part of the solution to tackling congestion, improving air quality and reducing transport emissions – and it is why we are also funding bus priority infrastructure and providing additional support through our Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme for greener and cleaner buses.”

Operators and accredited retrofit suppliers in Scotland have welcomed the funding. Says Claire McVicar, Environmental officer at Lothian Buses: “We are fully committed to improving air quality across all our operations in Edinburgh and The Lothians through our ambitious Bus2020 strategy, in line with the Scottish government’s climate change targets. We are therefore delighted to receive this substantial funding contribution from the Scottish government to assist us in achieving our environmental goals.

“Retrofitting a large number of vehicles will help us to continue to reduce our overall emissions and ensure that we are playing our part in improving the air quality in and around Edinburgh for the benefit of residents, workers and visitors to our capital city.”

Adds Stewart McLean, Managing Director of Driveline Emissions Technologies: “This is a great opportunity for Driveline to help Scottish operators improve their emissions and demonstrate the successful Euro VI product lines that Driveline now offers to the world.”

In addition to the three rounds of the BEAR Fund, there is still time for operators to apply to the Scottish Ultra Low-Emission Bus Scheme, which makes available £9m for bus operators to invest in ultra low-emission vehicles.