In a major boost to Greater Manchester’s ambitions to deliver an integrated transport network, the Bee Network, and reach net zero carbon emissions by 2038, £35.8million in funding has been secured to introduce 170 green buses to the region.
Greater Manchester has secured the funding after a joint bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) submitted by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Stockport Council and Stagecoach Group PLC.
The funding will be topped up with £12.5million from GMCA and will support the introduction of 170 zero emission buses running from Stockport by 2024. This equates to 10 per cent of the whole bus fleet in Greater Manchester.
The funding comes from the DfT’s Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme, which was launched last year to allow local transport authorities to bid for funding to purchase zero emission buses. Greater Manchester is one of 12 areas to secure a portion of the £200million funding available.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “This is a significant boost to our ambitions for a fairer, greener bus system. Zero emission buses play a critical part in our drive to help more people travel sustainably.
“We welcome the Government’s backing, and we look forward to further support as we continue to build an integrated and affordable public transport system.”
Councillor Elise Wilson, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “This is a major step forward to our plans to revolutionise how we travel in Stockport. We’re moving quickly in bringing a new state of the art transport hub to Stockport. And now we’re moving swiftly to improve air quality and transportation for now and future generations thanks to a green fleet of buses across our borough.
“This announcement shows our ambition for Stockport as we once again bring in funding to further complement all the great work already taking place in the town centre. It shows the importance of working with our partners and building relationships that benefit Stockport, and we’re delighted that 170 zero emission buses will be running from Stockport as we take a major step forward for our borough and Greater Manchester in tackling the ongoing climate emergency we are facing.”
Lee Wasnidge, Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester, said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement which will complement the significant investment and initiatives by operators as we work together to transition to a zero-emission bus fleet and help the country achieve its net zero ambitions.
“Stagecoach has already started its journey towards our target of a fully zero emission UK bus fleet by 2035, and there is also a major opportunity to deliver cleaner air by people switching to more sustainable public transport, cycling and walking. Britain’s buses have an exciting future ahead, helping decarbonise the country, as well as driving economic recovery and levelling up our communities.”
The announcement is another boost as part of plans to deliver a major urban community being driven forward by the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC), an innovative partnership that sets a new benchmark for town centre regeneration. The partnership brings together powers devolved to the Greater Manchester Mayor combined with strong local leadership from Stockport Council and the long-term commitment of the government’s housing agency, Homes England, to deliver an ambitious vision for the future of Stockport town centre.