The UK Government earlier this month announced that it will support five local transport authorities with funding worth nearly £71 million (US$95 million) under the Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme. The investment will support the introduction of up to 335 zero-emission buses.
The winning authorities were: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority; Kent County Council; Leicester City Council; Milton Keynes Borough Council and Warrington Borough Council.
The funding is awarded under the scheme’s fast-track process and represents part of the £270 million (US$360 million) made available in the financial year 2021 to 2022 to introduce zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them. The support is to help local transport authorities outside London to introduce zero emission buses. The scheme was first announced by the Prime Minister in February 2020.
Up to £50 million (US$66.7 million) of money already-announced from the ZEBRA scheme is expected to go to bids made via the standard process.
In the Budget Statement, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed that an additional £355 million (US$473.4 million) is to be made available to support the introduction of to zero emission buses. While the immediate funding announcement was welcomed, the Confederation of Passenger Transport raised questions about whether the pace of funding is sufficent to achieve the Government's plans to part-fund 4,000 ZEBs in England by 2025.