The government has announced that the cities of Coventry and Oxford will become the first all-electric bus areas in the UK.
The cities, which were two of 19 areas to bid for the scheme, have been signed off to switch their entire bus fleets to electric vehicles by transport secretary Grant Shapps.
Subject to successful business cases, both areas will be awarded up to £50 million to replace buses and install infrastructure, such as charging stations and pay-for-electric grid updates.
The local authorities and government hope the green bus fleet will imrpove air quality and reduce emissions, and aid targets to decarbonise the transport network, as well as support local businesses.
The government received 19 bids from across England to become the first all-electric bus town or city. Applicants had to demonstrate buy-in from stakeholders in their local areas; outline existing plans to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality; and show how the plan would tackle an existing air quality problem.
The government will work with the 2 local authorities to finalise their business cases over the coming weeks.
Speaking about the move, Shapps said: “As we build back greener from Covid-19, we can provide people with more environmentally-friendly transport and cleaner air. Coventry and Oxford could soon be at the forefront of our plans for a new era of bus services, helping us develop the green transport network of the future and support jobs right here in the UK.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Turning all of Coventry’s bus fleet electric is not only a major boost to public transport in the city, but it will also help tackle the climate emergency we face both here in the West Midlands and the wider UK.
Oxfordshire County Council Leader, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, said: “Oxfordshire’s bid comes at a time when our council is determined to take concerted climate action to cut vehicle air pollution and expand the provision of bus services with our Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford plans. This council is committed to offering our residents a clean and environmentally sustainable future through a series of steps including through better public transport.”