Nick Clegg announces £500m green bus measures

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced the main elements of a 500m package of measures to support the development and use of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) until 2020. It follows a call for evidence, launched in November 2013, to inform the design of the new package. .

He says: “ULEVs are a vital part of the government’s plans for a modern transport system that promotes economic growth while benefiting the environment. With all these benefits for people, the economy and environment we want to secure the UK’s position as a global leader in both the production and use of these vehicles.”

The package includes 100m for research and development (across all modes), and 30m to boost the low emission bus market. Details of the scheme will be announced by the autumn.

Other measures include a new 35m cities scheme to support flagship cities in introducing innovative local incentives, such as free parking, ULEV car clubs and access to bus lanes for ULEVs. The latter “will be for local authorities to decide, but wouldn’t have to be a permanent measure.”

There is also 200m Plug-in Car Grants, 31m for other ULEV sectors, including vans, 20m to encourage a new generation of ultra-low emission taxis, 32m on new infrastructure including rapid chargers and 4m for HGV gas fuelling.

Welcoming the announcement, Confederation of Passenger Transport CEO Simon Posner told routeone: “CPT and suppliers have long made the case to Government for continued funding to support innovation, and today’s announcement recognises the industry is being heard.

“CPT welcomes any measures which help to reduce CO2 emissions from UK vehicles and improve local air quality.

“We would expect to be consulted on any plans to allow other road users to use bus lanes. All the evidence shows that where bus lanes are in operation and properly enforced, bus journey times have improved with reliability of services also greatly enhanced.”

Adds Transport Minister Robert Goodwill: “The government is seeking to adopt a flexible approach. Not all the 500m funding is allocated, and minimum allocations are given which could be extended to reflect market conditions. Many elements of the package are also subject to securing state aid approvals from Europe.

“We are positioning the UK to be a lead market for the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and will announce later this summer the actions that both government and industry stakeholders will be taking to achieve this.”