The Scottish Government has made available a further £25m towards the purchase of zero-emission buses through a second round of the competitive Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS).
That money is expected to support around 140 new battery-electric buses and their associated infrastructure. It will take to over 200 the number of buses that will be part funded through SULEBS. The first round initially awarded £7.4m toward 41 vehicles, but Transport Scotland has since revised those figures to £10.8m and 62 buses.
Organisations will be able to apply to the second SULEBS round from 22 January. Guidance is available on a dedicated section of the Transport Scotland website.
Says Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson: “Following on from the success of the first round of the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme launched last summer, I am pleased to announce a further £25m for the bus sector.
“It’s an extremely unsettling time for the industry that plays a key role in keeping Scotland moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope this additional funding will provide support to our vital bus operators and manufacturers and at the same time, drive forward a green recovery in Scotland and our world leading climate targets.
“We have already provided over £100m to increase and maintain bus services and priority infrastructure measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
SULEBS assists with up to 75% of the cost differential between a standard diesel bus and one that it zero-emission capable. It also offers support for infrastructure up to a maximum of 75% of its capital cost.
The approach from the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive in pushing ahead with funding for zero-emission buses contrasts with a lack of similar action from Westminster.
There, the Department for Transport has failed to give any further details of how it will allocate money to the purchase of the same vehicles in England – and possibly Wales – that it continues to say form the central part of a remaining £3bn funding pot for buses, despite it being almost a year since those plans were first announced.