The Scottish government has launched a new Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme in a bid to improve air quality and enable a green recovery from COVID-19.
The scheme will provide £9m worth of funding to help bus operators transition to hydrogen-electric or fully electric vehicles.
The money will cover up to 50% of the cost difference between an ultra-low emission bus and a conventional diesel equivalent. That figure rises to up to 75% where the bus is zero-emission capable.
This scheme is an evolution of the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund. Through the Green Bus Fund, £17 million was invested between 2011 and 2018 which led to nearly 500 cleaner buses across Scotland.
The Scottish National Investment Bank will be established to support and enable the transition and will look to leverage additional private finance.
Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson said: ‘The Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme will support bus operators and bus manufacturers in what I know is a turbulent time for the industry.
‘The investments we will make this year will help drive forward a green recovery in Scotland while supporting our air quality objectives and our world-leading climate targets.
‘With around three-quarters of all public transport journeys made by bus in recent years, equating to some 380 million trips across Scotland in 2018/19, it’s always been clear to me how critical our bus industry and its supply chain is to our wider transport objectives outlined in our National Transport Strategy.
‘This is why during the COVID-19 crisis we are providing up to £109 million to increase and maintain bus services and why we are providing £10 million for bus priority infrastructure measures. In addition, we have maintained concessionary travel payments and Bus Service Operator Grants at pre-COVID levels and have also improved our existing offer for bus exhaust retrofit solutions.
‘I’m pleased that our Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme will provide further support for our vital bus sector which plays a key role in keeping Scotland moving, improving our air quality whilst responding both to the COVID-19 crisis and the global climate emergency.’
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