North East welcomes £19.5m transport decarbonisation investment
New electric buses are on the way alongside extra charging points following the news that the North East has successfully secured £19.5m of investment through the Levelling Up Fund for a Transport Decarbonisation package.
The multi-million-pound investment will greatly enhance zero carbon options for local people, delivering up to 52 new high-quality electric buses which will travel on some of the region’s most heavily congested routes, alongside 92 new Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers – many at key destinations such as Park and Ride sites – to encourage multimodal journeys. It is hoped expanded EV charging infrastructure will encourage more people to consider switching to a zero-emission vehicle where possible.
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.
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair, North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “I’m delighted to welcome this £19.5m investment which will enable us to deliver our Transport Decarbonisation package of new electric buses and electric vehicle charge-points. This funding will greatly boost the availability of zero carbon transport options for local people – enabling cleaner, greener journeys to work and education, improving air quality, and reducing our carbon emissions from transport.
“This funding will see us welcome an additional 52 brand-new zero emission buses, across routes which experience some of the worst levels of air pollution in our region. We’ll also increase our network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure with 92 new EV chargers across 36 regional sites. This includes Park and Ride locations and other key destinations which will help to encourage more residents to use public transport for at least part of their journey.
“Thank you to our region’s MPs, council leaders and businesses for their support on this successful bid. This is great news and an exciting development for regional transport.”
Liz Twist, MP for Blaydon welcomed the successful outcome of the bid: “I’m pleased the government has accepted the need for this major £19.5m transport investment and I was delighted to champion the bid on behalf of the region. New zero emission buses and EV charging points will be welcome news for local people and will greatly lower carbon emissions and improve accessibility across the region.
“It’s important that we deliver high-quality sustainable transport options to encourage more people to choose greener travel where they can. This is wonderful news for people of the North East.”
Stagecoach North East Managing Director, Steve Walker, said: “On behalf of North East Bus Operators Association, my colleagues and I are delighted with the announcement of this £19.5m investment in our region’s transport network.
“This major funding builds on existing investment in greener buses across the North East, as we continue to work towards Net Zero bus fleets by 2035 and continue to demonstrate our collaborative approach and absolute commitment to ensuring the future prosperity of local communities.
“Buses are the solution to the UK’s biggest challenges: major congestion and declining air quality, and securing this investment makes a significant contribution to enhancing our region’s public transport offer with the introduction of greener, modern and accessible buses, which connect our people and provide critical links to employment, education, health and leisure facilities.
“Maximising the potential of buses to support our economy and deliver a more sustainable future for our country is a joint responsibility involving transport operators, the Government and local authorities, and we would like to thank our local authority colleagues across the North East for their invaluable contribution to this successful bid.”