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Government announces £48m ultra low emission bus fund

Wed 28 March 2018 | Back to news list

Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani has announced a new Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme for England and Wales aimed at cutting emissions and ensuring cleaner and greener journeys. Local authorities and operators will be able to bid for a share of a £48m fund, which they can use to buy hundreds of new ultra-low emission buses as well as the infrastructure to support them.

The application window closes on the 30th June 2018 and interested parties should signal their intent to submit by 30th April 2018 (ulebs@dft.gsi.gov.uk).

The scheme follows the July 2016 release of funds through which 13 organisations are receiving more than £30m between them putting more than 300 new Low Emission Buses on the road by 2019. The new funding completes the £100m announcement in November 2016 to support bus operators reduce emissions, with £40m awared to reduce NOx emissions from older buses through the Clean Bus Technology Fund 2017-19 and a further £11m awarded to Low Emission Buses in September 2017.

The minister said: "In order to achieve this ambitious target, the transport sector is going to have to change dramatically over the next couple of decades – and buses are no exception. We are confident this scheme will encourage councils and operators to invest in these ultra-low emission vehicles - speeding up the full transition to a low emission bus fleet in England and Wales."

Greener Journeys CEO and LowCVP Board member Claire Haigh said: “We’re delighted that the Government has recognised the important and vital role that buses play in helping reduce harmful emissions.  The cleanest diesel buses emit fewer emissions overall than the cleanest diesel cars, despite being able to carry 20 times more passengers.”

The LowCVP will be supporting manufacturers and the Department for Transport in the certification of ULEBs so please forward any enquiries for eligibility of vehicles and/or infrastructure to daniel.hayes@lowcvp.org.uk

Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme: Key Changes

The LowCVP has worked through our Bus Working Group to help define the new criteria for Ultra-Low Emission Buses, which deliver more than 30% GHG savings over the latest Euro VI conventional vehicles. In October and November 2017, LowCVP tested 8 Euro VI diesel buses on behalf of DfT to create a new baseline emissions performance for which to compare low carbon bus technologies against.

Taking the leanings from the Low Emission Bus Scheme, the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme has been designed to foster ambition in emissions reduction and keep the bus sector at the forefront of robust vehicle emissions testing. Some key changes from the LEB scheme to the ULEB scheme are:

  • Euro VI diesel bus baseline comparison (previously Euro V)
  • A revised test cycle and conditions (e.g. heating turned on and a lower test chamber temperature).
  • Increased funding for zero emissions mileage.

The ULEB scheme will continue to help fund the cost of supporting infrastructure as well as the buses themselves, with infrastructure only bids that support either Low Emission Buses and/or Ultra-Low Emission Buses welcomed. Please note that infrastructure only bids do not require an Ultra-Low Emission Bus certification to be eligible for funding but subsequent emissions savings from either LEBs or ULEBs must be demonstrated. 

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