Smart Transport

Government launches consultation on end date for sale of non zero emission buses

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation on proposals to end the sale of new non-zero emission buses by 2032 "at the very latest".

This consultation follows on from an initial consultation on Ending the sale of new diesel buses, which ran from 15 March 2021 to 11 April 2021.

Baroness Vere, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the DfT, said: "...Buses are at the centre of the public transport network, connecting people right across the country, playing a vital role in fostering and strengthening communities, reducing congestion and helping build a high-growth, high productivity economy across the UK.

"Buses are already one of the most environmentally friendly ways of travelling and this policy will go further ensuring that their future operation produces no carbon impact – with no negative impact of passengers.

"As we recover from COVID-19, we are putting transport at the heart of our decisions.

"Building back better and greener will make our economy more sustainable and resilient, help us deliver cleaner air and lower carbon emissions, and benefit passengers across the country. Accelerating the transition to a zero-emission bus fleet is absolutely key to this."

The latest consultation is running until 21 May and is looking for views on:

  • the challenges of transitioning to zero emission coaches and minibuses
  • what would need to be true or in place to withdraw the sale of these vehicles
  • what government could do to accelerate the transition to zero emission coaches and minibuses
  • setting a realistic date to end the sale of these vehicles

Responses to the consultation should be sent to [email protected].

Late last year, the DfT announced almost £71 million in new funding to support 335 zero emission buses across five local areas in England.

A further £200m in funding has been announced for another 1,000 zero emission buses, which the DfT says delivers on its promise to build 4,000 new zero emission buses across the country.

Extensive investment

Mike Hawes, Sociert of Moor chief executive, said: “Greater funding for zero emission buses will be massively welcomed as the sector has had a torrid time because of the pandemic.

"With plummeting passenger numbers, cash strapped operators have been unable to fund new vehicles, stalling fleet renewal."

Hawes said zero emission buses will help entice more passengers back on board and will help address environmental concerns in towns and cities.

However, Hawes said that while some cities are already deploying these new vehicles, the SMMT is urging more cities to get on board quickly.

He added: "The promised funding must flow through local authorities urgently and on to operators to place new orders.

“Ending the sale of new fossil-fuelled buses and coaches will, however, require even more extensive investments.

"Dedicated infrastructure – above and beyond what has been pledged this week for electric car usage – will be required if, as seems likely, buses are to be the first heavy vehicle segment to decarbonise. The coach sector, meanwhile, will also need a dedicated and complete package of measures, including incentives, plus suitable parking and charging provision across the UK.”

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