Blackpool Council have been awarded £20m by the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) fund, which will see 115 zero emission buses come to the town in the next three to five years.
The joint bid by the council and the local authority owned Blackpool Transport Services will provide the area with one of the cleanest, most modern bus networks in the country.
The ZEBRA fund was first announced by the Prime Minister in 2020 and helps local transport authorities outside London to introduce zero emission buses, as well as the infrastructure needed to support them.
Blackpool’s successful bid for funding faced sharp competition, as they were competing with regions, such as Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region, among 15 other local transport authorities that had all reached stage two of the 2021/22 funding round.
The council and all of its arms-length companies are striving to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Buses in general play a key role in reducing congestion and will now contribute more than ever in the universal need to reduce carbon emissions and protect the planet for future generations, the authority said.
Each new bus will feature a modern, customer focused design and will be entirely tailpipe emissions free, helping to improve air quality across the Fylde Coast.
Commenting, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Public Safety, Highways and Transport, Councillor Neal Brookes said:
“The ZEBRA funding means we can push forward with plans to replace the current bus fleet with zero emission vehicles. It’s yet another shot in the arm for Blackpool’s public transport system and our push towards becoming a greener town.
“We're working hard to make public transport more attractive for local residents and I hope this will encourage more people to swap their car for the bus.”
Finance and Commercial Director at Blackpool Transport, James Carney added:
“Blackpool Council have shown their ambition for a clean public and modern transport system since 2016, when the first Euro VI, environmentally friendly diesel buses were delivered as part of a £22m finance programme to invest in new buses.
“This grant will take Blackpool’s bus network to another level, because by operating electric buses, the company will no longer need buy two million litres of diesel a year.
“We will be able sell most of our current fleet of diesel buses to other UK bus operators, providing access to low emission diesel buses at an affordable cost and allowing funds from the sale of the buses to be reinvested in the local transport network.”
You can watch the full PSE365 Public Sector Decarbonisation in Association with Liberty Charge virtual event on demand here.