But government left with £8m Green Bus Fund underspend after bidders fail to meet required criteria for electric, hybrid and gas vehicles
Councils across England are gearing up to roll out brand new electric and biomethane powered buses, as the government today reveals the latest winners of its multi-million pound fund for low carbon buses.
But the government says it is now searching for ways to invest an £8m underspend, after many bidders failed to meet the criteria for the Green Bus Fund.
Local Transport Minister Norman Baker will today announce that four local authorities and eight bus operators each won a share of £12m to deploy a total of 213 all-electric, hybrid and biomethane gas powered buses on their streets.
The funding covers up to half of the additional cost of buying a low carbon bus, compared to its standard diesel equivalent, in a bid to reduce the upfront costs of the emerging technology.
City of York Council, Nottingham City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for London, First York and Yorkshire Coastline will receive funding for 31 new fully electric single decker buses between them.
Meanwhile, Reading Transport Limited and Stagecoach North East will respectively take 14 and 17 biomethane gas single decker buses into their fleets.
Other winning bidders, including Courtney Coaches, First Berkshire, Stagecoach Manchester and Transport for London, will order more than 150 diesel hybrid single and double decker buses between them.
The orders are also expected to provide a major boost to bus manufacturers including Alexander Dennis Limited, BYD, Optare, Scania and Volvo, some of which are based in the UK.
However, a spokesman for the Department for Transport (DfT) told BusinessGreen that it had only managed to hand out £12m of the £20m fund because not enough bids met the required criteria.
Baker has now asked the Department for Transport (DfT) to identify further green initiatives to invest in this year using the £8m underspend.
The latest funding round is the fourth round from the Green Bus Fund, which in total has provided £87m for 1,200 new low carbon buses in England, saving an estimated 28,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, said DfT.
"The last three rounds of the Green Bus Fund have shown that bus operators and local authorities are keen to invest in environmentally friendly technology, and it is encouraging to see this strong interest in ultra low emission vehicles continuing through the fourth round of the Fund," said Baker in a statement.
"I'm glad these new technologies are breaking through into the mainstream. This further strengthens the case for operators in the UK to invest in ultra low emission technologies and achieve a step change in cutting carbon."
By Le My