Two ZE bus projects terminated and grant funding returned

Electric bus funding for Caerphilly and Orkney returned

Two projects to introduce battery-electric buses have been terminated and the grant funding involved returned to the issuing body.

Orkney Islands Council (OIC) has withdrawn from the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS). It was awarded £618,325 from the first SULEBS round towards five battery-electric buses and their associated infrastructure.

No reason has been disclosed for the change of heart, with OIC saying that “a live related tendering exercise” precludes it from stating why. It has not submitted a bid to the second round of SULEBS. Transport Scotland was notified in February that OIC did not wish to take up the grant. The money has been reallocated to the second round of SULEBS.

Additionally, Stagecoach South Wales will not take up the £2.84m it was awarded in 2019 through the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme. The money was to go towards 16 battery-electric buses and their associated infrastructure at Caerphilly depot.

A Stagecoach spokesperson says that the decision was made in 2020 not to progress the work in Caerphilly (pictured). They add that the plans were reviewed “due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic and… funding uncertainty.”