The Scottish Government has announced a major £50 million cash injection as part of the first phase of the new Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB).
Replacing previous funding streams set out for zero-emission vehicles, the fund will ‘encourage’ the market to agree and implement new and innovative ways to finance zero-emission vehicles.
Building on the success of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme, ScotZEB will now support Scotland’s green recovery, providing ‘immediate economic stimulus’ and supporting the Scottish Government’s ambitions to decarbonise the bus fleet.
ScotZEB was unveiled by Transport Minister Graeme Dey at the Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce, which brings together senior leaders from the energy, bus and finance sectors to co-design a pathway to a fully decarbonised bus fleet.
Commenting on the funding, Mr Dey said: “To accelerate progress towards a zero-emission bus fleet, we committed to convene a meeting of the Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce within our first 100 days.
“The Scottish Government has come to the table with an evolved offer for zero-emission bus funding – building on the experience of previous schemes and designed in a way that maximises opportunities to attract sustainable financing and encourage innovative ways of doing so.
“£50 million is available in 2021 to help drive a green recovery, responding to the global climate emergency and to improve air quality. I’m excited to see results from the ScotZEB Challenge Fund and expect to offer a larger pot of funding in 2022 once it demonstrates its success.”
The funding injection comes just a week after the UK Government announced a ‘greenprint’ plan aiming to decarbonise all British transport by 2050.
Westminster says the measures help to reduce pollution and make Britain greener Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added that the Transport Decarbonisation Plan will create “cleaner, quieter cities and communities,” improving quality of life and the movement of goods.
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Steven Meersman, Co-Founder and Director of Zenobē said: “We’re incredibly proud to be part of Scotland’s net zero journey, helping to make sustainable, green transport accessible and affordable.
“The Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme has already facilitated pioneering zero-emissions transport projects in Dundee and Glasgow, highlighting what’s possible when there is strong collaboration between bus operators, government and business.
“We look forward to the ScotZEB scheme building on this success to further accelerate the update of zero-emission electric buses.”
ADL President & Managing Director, Paul Davies added: “The Scottish Government continues to lead the way in funding cleaner, greener buses. We look forward to working with bus operators and the energy and finance sectors to ensure the benefits of this funding are felt across communities in Scotland.
“Its investment in local supply chains such as our production of electric and hydrogen buses in Falkirk will underpin skilled jobs and apprenticeships that are vital for the transition to net zero.”