The Scottish Government has awarded £7.4 million through the first round of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme.

The initiative helps bus operators invest in ultra-low emission vehicles and infrastructure  – supporting a green recovery out of the COVID-19 crisis, furthering our ambitions for a net-zero economy and improving air quality through a greener fleet.

In total, 41 ultra-low emission buses will be supported across five bids. 35 of the buses will be built in Scotland – supporting jobs and the wider Scottish supply chain.

The successful bidders are:

Further details will be provided as funding is issued.

This Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS) is an evolution of the Scottish Green Bus Fund held each year between 2011 and 2018. SULEBS supports the purchase of new buses, and assists with 50% of the cost differential between a standard diesel bus and the equivalent ultra-low emission bus.

This can rise to a maximum 75% support of the differential for buses depending on their zero emission running capability. Support is also available for the infrastructure for this technology of up to a maximum 75% of the capital cost. 

SULEBS is part of the Scottish Government’s approach to meeting its ambitions for a net-zero economy and improving air quality through a greener fleet.

A round of SULEBS ran between 19 August and 6 September 2020, and has resulted in five successful bids, totalling £7.4 million for the introduction of 41 ultra-low emission buses, and for infrastructure to support the running of ultra-low emission buses across Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme is providing economic stimulus to help drive a green recovery, responding to the climate emergency whilst improving air quality. I’m pleased that 35 of these new buses will be manufactured in Scotland, helping to support jobs and our bus manufacturing sector.

“A total of 366 million bus journeys were made in 2019, which demonstrates the value of our bus sector and supply chain in keeping Scotland moving. It also reinforces the key role that buses play every day in supporting the wider vision outlined in our National Transport Strategy.

“To help support bus operators and passengers, we’re also providing up to £109 million to increase and maintain bus services and £10 million for bus priority infrastructure measures.

“In addition, we have maintained concessionary travel payments and Bus Service Operator Grants at pre-COVID levels and have provided £9.75 million to fund exhaust retrofits and help with the costs in moving to Low Emission Zones.”

Paul Davies, Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director said: “As Britain’s leading manufacturer of clean buses, we welcome the Scottish Government’s award of funding for ultra-low emission buses, which will contribute to Scotland’s green recovery.

“This is a much appreciated first step in stimulating urgently needed demand for new buses and we look forward to building 35 electric buses here in Scotland. Delivering cleaner air and reducing carbon emissions, they will set a great example for further investment in a better future for all. At Alexander Dennis, we have the capacity, skilled team and commitment to build the many more low, ultra low and zero emission buses which our nation needs now.”

John Bynorth from Environmental Protection Scotland and coordinator for Scotland’s Clean Air Day on Thursday 8 October 2020, said: “We welcome this funding announcement of support for 41 ultra-low emission buses which will help continue to drive forward the improvements in air quality in Scotland’s towns and cities.

“It is vital that people are encouraged to get back on buses once the COVID-19 crisis is over and are aware of the environmental benefits of leaving the car at home.

“Cleaner, greener buses and good transport infrastructure, such as bus lanes to speed up bus journey times, all play an important part in Scotland’s sustainable economic recovery after COVID-19.”

More information on the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme, is on the Transport Scotland website: https://www.transport.gov.scot/public-transport/buses/scottish-ultra-low-emission-bus-scheme/