Expressions of interest from six local authorities (LAs) in England submitted via the £120m Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme’s fast-track mechanism have been selected to proceed to the business case preparation stage. They from are:
- Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority
- Kent County Council
- Leicester City Council
- Milton Keynes Borough Council
- Warrington Borough Council
- West Midlands Combined Authority.
The six LAs are expected complete their respective five-part business cases by 30 July. Winners will be selected in August with successful schemes beginning to deliver in September, guidance on developing ZEBRA business cases that has been published by the Department for Transport (DfT) states.
The fast-track expression of interest application process for ZEBRA closed on 21 May, with the standard process deadline having been 2 July. Submissions via the latter round that will proceed to the business case stage are to be selected in February 2022. Successful schemes there will begin delivery by March 2022.
DfT says that it has received 35 expressions of interest in ZEBRA, which is a competitive scheme. It expects business cases “to demonstrate a strong strategic case, credible deliverability, value for money and ongoing evaluation,” the guidance states.
When ZEBRA was launched in March, the government said that the programme would provide funding towards up to 500 zero-emission buses in England. It forms part of the National Bus Strategy objectives. Up to £70m will go to fast-track bids with the remaining £50m going to those submitted by the standard process.