Scottish Government awards £40m second round of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme

The Scottish Government has awarded £40.5 million through a second round of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS).

This is the largest investment yet through the SULEBS programme, and will support operators in replacing 215 old diesel buses with new battery-electric models. This is a substantial increase on the 57 buses supported through the first round and to help meet demand, the intended budget for this second round has been increased by £15 million.

With 172 of the buses to be built in Falkirk, this investment supports skilled, green manufacturing jobs in Scotland, as well as reducing transport emissions.

The Scottish Government has also published a new information and ideas pack which shows how the bus and finance sectors are innovating to speed up the transition to net-zero.

This is the first report from The Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce, which brings together senior leaders from the energy, bus and finance sectors to co-design a pathway to a fully decarbonised bus fleet.  The information pack identifies new routes for financing green buses that can build on government support and bring about faster fleet transformation.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme continues to help drive a green recovery, responding to the global climate emergency and improving air quality.

“Ensuring a just and fair transition to a net-zero economy is a truly national endeavour and I’m delighted that the Scottish Government’s investment is matched by private investment from bus operators and the finance sector. 172 of these new buses will be manufactured in Falkirk – benefitting the Scottish bus industry and wider supply chain.

“More journeys are made by bus compared to any other public transport mode and a vibrant bus industry can provide the solutions to complex challenges in our society. By helping operators to invest in a greener fleet we can support our green recovery – and keep more people moving with fewer carbon emissions and better air quality as a result.

“Our bus decarbonisation work, both through SULEBS and the Taskforce, is part of a wider package of support for our bus industry – including long-term funding of over £500 million for bus priority infrastructure. We’re also providing support of up to £191.3 to help maintain essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic and help keep Scotland moving.”

Paul Davies, Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director said: “The Scottish Government deserves huge credit for leading by example to support bus operator’s commitment to invest in cleaner, greener buses and we are delighted that bids for 172 of our electric buses have been successful.

“These zero emission buses will be built at our factory in Falkirk and therefore ensure this Scottish Government investment is made domestically, allowing the benefits to be felt across our communities whilst helping to underpin skilled jobs. We very much look forward to working with the successful operators to finalise terms and get these vehicles into service at pace.”

Paul White, Director at CPT Scotland said: “This announcement highlights the commitment of Scotland’s bus sector to decarbonisation. The £40.5m awarded by Government will be met with investment of over £80m from bus companies to fund these 215 vehicles.

“CPT will continue to work with Scottish Government to create an operating environment that prioritises sustainable and active travel, frees buses from congestion and maximises the benefits of this investment.”

Dave Moxham – Deputy General Secretary for the STUC and member of the Just Transition Commission said: “I am delighted to see that all of the ADL buses will be manufactured in Falkirk. This is positive news for the workers who through their union have been working hard to achieve this.

“There is no doubt that we need to build on our existing domestic manufacture if we are to ensure that Scotland can be at the forefront of a net-zero industrial revolution. 

“This announcement is an example of the kind of interventions we need if we are to embark on a real green recovery.”

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 Scottish Government’s net zero targets, its commitment to delivering Low Emission Zones and Scotland’s ambitions for transport decarbonisation.

It provides support for the purchase of new ultra low emission buses up to a maximum 75% of the differential costs against diesel 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.

The first round of SULEBS ran in August 2020. Over £10.1 million of funding supported four completed bids, for the introduction of 57 ultra-low emission buses, and supporting infrastructure.

The second round of SULEBS ran in January/February 2021. Over £40.5 million of funding will support six completed bids, introducing a further 215 ultra-low emission buses, and supporting infrastructure across Scotland.

To read more about the information and ideas pack, the first publication from the Bus Decarbonisation Task Force, visit

To find out more about how the Scottish Government is working to decarbonise the transport sector, visit the Transport Scotland website:

SULEBS Round 1 – August – September 2020

First Glasgow No 1 Ltd

Bid: 22 single deck ADL E200 buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded: £3,870,374

Xplore Dundee

Bid: 12 double deck ADL E400 buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded: £1,946,727

McGill’s Bus Service Ltd

Bid: 1 single deck ADL E200, 22 single deck Yutong E12 buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded: £3,938,827

Ember Core Ltd

Bid: Infrastructure only
Total funding awarded: £383,484

Orkney Islands Council

Bid withdrawn

SULEBS Round 2 – January – February 2021

First Glasgow No 1 Ltd

Bid: 35 single deck ADL, 91 double deck ADL buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £24,301,840

McGill’s Bus Service Ltd

Bid: 33 single deck Yutong buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £6,011,718

Ember Core Ltd

Bid: 6 single deck Yutong, 4 single deck arrival buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £1,302,634

Stagecoach West

Bid: 15 single deck ADL buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £2,666,359

Stagecoach East

Bid: 9 single deck ADL buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £2,181,663

Stagecoach Bluebird

Bid: 22 double deck ADL buses and infrastructure
Total funding awarded to date: £4,079,134

You will receive our regular news digest – typically weekly. We are serious about GDPR and we promise to take care of your data and will never sell it or pass it on.

Your Privacy

We and our partners use technologies, such as cookies, and process personal data, such as IP addresses and cookie identifiers, to personalise ads and content based on your interests, measure the performance of ads and content, and derive insights about the audiences who saw ads and content. Click below to consent to the use of this technology and the processing of your personal data for these purposes. View our privacy policy.