MPs and leaders back £19.5m bid to boost low carbon transport
North East MPs and transport leaders are backing a new £19.5m bid to decarbonise transport in the North East through the delivery of new electric buses and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging facilities for local people.
The bid, developed in partnership by Transport North East on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee, Arriva North East, Go North East, Stagecoach and the seven local authorities, was submitted to Government as part of the Levelling Up Fund (Round 2). The submission was endorsed by Liz Twist, MP for Blaydon.
If successful, the funding will boost the zero carbon transport options available for people in the North East – both by investing in additional electric buses which will operate across the region and new EV chargers which will encourage more people to consider switching to a zero-emission vehicle.
The bid would fund 52 new high-quality zero emission buses which would join the public transport network alongside supporting infrastructure. Buses would operate on eight of the highest frequency bus routes across the North East. These routes experience some of the highest levels of air pollution, with this investment part of the strategy for a zero-emission transport system.
The funding would also provide 92 new EV chargers across 36 regional sites. These would include Park & Ride locations and other key destinations to encourage multi-modal journeys which use public transport for at least part of the journey.
Liz Twist, MP for Blaydon, said: “I’m excited to endorse this incredible bid, which will look to build both the future of our local transport and the future of our planet. More zero emission buses and EV charge points will help in our shared goal of better air quality across and accessibility across the region. It will also help us in building sustainable options in which we can invest in for our future. I will be vocal in Parliament to ensure the Government can see the value of this bid and what it could mean for the people of the North East.”
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair, North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “If we are successful in securing this £19.5m investment, we will greatly improve the availability of zero carbon transport options for local people – allowing greener journeys to work, school and leisure opportunities.
“The project would improve our air quality while reducing congestion on our roads and noise pollution which is great news all round. High-tech electric buses offer a modern, comfortable journey for passengers and, for those who do need to drive, an enhanced network of EV chargers at Park and Ride sites we hope will encourage more people to use public transport for part of their journeys.
“I hope the Government sees the strength of the North East Levelling Up Fund bid and the support it has – we are determined to secure funding needed to drive forward ambitious local projects which greatly improve our transport network.”
Stephen King, Chair of the local operator’s association NEBus, said: “This bid builds on the region’s ambition to provide cleaner and greener ways of getting around the North East and on the success of previous joint funding initiatives which have already seen the region’s first full electric bus fleet on the roads of Newcastle and Gateshead.
“The region’s bus operators are committed to playing their role in providing a green and reliable way to travel around the North East and this bid shows the power of collaboration when all bus operators, local authorities and stakeholders work together.”
Following submission, the Government is now appraising the schemes submitted across the UK with a decision expected this year.
For more information on Transport North East visit www.transportnortheast.gov.uk