Delivering Zero Emission Buses in the North East

The North East Joint Transport Committee working in partnership with Go North East, Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council has been successful in an initial Expression of Interest in an effort to secure 73 new zero emission buses for the North East.

Up to £120 million is being made available through the Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme, which allows local transport authorities to bid for funding to purchase zero-emission buses. The Department for Transport (DfT) hopes this will reduce transport emissions and improve urban air quality significantly across the UK. The funding aims to deliver up to 500 zero-emission buses nationally, supporting the government’s wider commitment to introduce 4,000 zero-emission buses.

The North East Joint Transport Committee has now been invited to prepare a business case for funding from the ZEBRA programme.

To be submitted in January 2022, if successful a new fleet of 73 electric vehicles could be operating across the region, part of a phased approach to transform the region’s bus fleet.

This investment would be targeted at,

  • Coast Road Corridor; serving Newcastle, North Tyneside and South East Northumberland,
  • A167 Corridor, Newcastle, Gateshead, Chester-Le- Street and Durham City Centre.
  • Consett; serving the communities of Consett, Derwent Valley and Durham;
  • Durham Park and Ride: includes services from four park and ride sites, part of a package to improve public transport use and improve air quality; and
  • Hexham: centred on Hexham, also serving Allendale, East Tynedale, Haltwhistle, Mid Tyne, Ponteland and Prudhoe as well as parts of Cumbria and Tyne & Wear. It would serve towns and villages and connect to the World Heritage site of Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland National Park and areas of outstanding natural beauty

Cllr Martin Gannon Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the North East, and I’m delighted we are moving towards submitting a business case for funding.

“Securing 73 additional electric buses would be great news for the region – another step forward in our ongoing fight to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions from cars on our region’s roads. Providing greener, sustainable public transport options is a key part of the North East Transport Plan so this is a very positive development.”

Chair of NEbus and managing director at Go North East, Martijn Gilbert, said: “We’re excited to move to the next stage of the Zero Emission Buses Regional Area scheme. 

“If we are serious about reducing congestion and improving air quality, then we need to get more people on board public transport.

“Introducing more electric buses across the region, on top of the nine that are already operating around Newcastle and Gateshead, will certainly play a fundamental role in helping us achieve this.”

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