Bus users in Swindon could benefit from new zero emission buses as Swindon Borough Council makes it through to the next stage of the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme
The ZEBRA scheme will provide up to £120 million for Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) across the country to support the introduction of zero emission buses as well as the associated infrastructure, helping to contribute towards improving local air quality, reducing noise pollution and lowering carbon emissions.
Last month the Council launched its Net Zero Emissions Action Plan which sets out a list of initial actions the Council is taking to achieve net zero in the Council’s organisational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. It will also support and rally residents and organisations across the Borough to join the journey to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050, in line with the Government’s target.
Over the last few years, the Council has taken significant action to reduce GHG emissions and bidding for this funding is another example of the work the Council is doing to drive Swindon towards a more sustainable future.
The Council will now progress to the next stage of the selection process for the ZEBRA scheme and will work with Swindon’s Bus Company, Stagecoach West and the DfT to co-develop a business case for the investment.
Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure, Transport and Planning, said: “It is great news that Swindon has made it to the next stage of the Government’s highly competitive ZEBRA scheme. We will now work with our partners at Swindon’s Bus Company and Stagecoach West to develop a business case in a bid to secure a share of this funding.
“It is essential that as part of our recovery from the pandemic, we are building back more sustainably than before. This bid builds on the Council’s track record of seizing opportunities to help reduce Swindon’s environmental footprint and we all have a part to play in that.”
Councillor Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Finance and Commercialisation, said: “I’m very pleased that we are one step closer to securing funding for zero emission buses in Swindon.
“This bid marks our continued efforts to support the Borough to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and builds on the actions already set out in the Council’s Net Zero Emissions Action Plan, which launched last month.
“Buses are one of the most sustainable modes of transport available to us and I’m very keen to see local public transport in Swindon taken to the next level so it can deliver even more environmental benefits for our town.”
Andrew Wickham, managing director of Swindon’s Bus Company, added: “I’m delighted that Swindon has been chosen for the next stage of the process to be part of the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas Scheme. Buses are an excellent solution for improving air quality and reducing congestion, because they give people the option to leave their cars at home and use sustainable transport instead. So this decision is a welcome boost for the town and surrounding area.
“At Swindon’s Bus Company, we have invested heavily in brand new buses over recent years. Each of these carries the very latest Euro 6 engine – emitting fewer harmful emissions than a new diesel car. This latest news means we have a wonderful opportunity to take greener transport a step even further – with the exciting prospect of electric buses here.
“We know just how important it is to improve air quality in the town, and we’re delighted to have been working closely with Swindon Borough Council and its partners on this hugely significant initiative.”
Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director for Stagecoach West, said: “Buses will play a crucial role in supporting the recovery of the country in decarbonising local journeys, reducing road congestion, improving air quality and tackling climate change.
“We welcome the news that Swindon’s proposals for investment in new electric buses have progressed through to the next stage in the government’s scheme. We will now be working closely with Swindon Borough Council on the development of more detailed plans.
“This is a positive step forward in helping to reduce carbon and deliver cleaner air and builds further on the investment we have made in introducing greener buses in the region. In addition to investment in zero-emissions buses, there are also major opportunities to deliver cleaner air by encouraging people to make the switch from car to sustainable public transport by working in partnership to introduce supportive measures such as more bus priority and other congestion cutting measures.”