UK: Consultation on the establishment of a deadline for the sale of new non-zero emission buses.

The Prime Minister outlined his 10-point strategy for a green industrial revolution in November 2020. Its goal is to recover more quickly from the epidemic, to utilize our recovery to level the country, to scale up new businesses, and to create new green jobs across our industrial heartlands and across the UK as we work toward net zero by 2050.

Now, as President and host of COP 26, I am glad to inform the House that we are continuing to implement that strategy, following the UK’s example of global leadership on climate change.

We pledged to setting a legal end date for the sale of new diesel buses in Bus Back Better, and today we’re starting a consultation to set a legal end date for the sale of new, non-zero emission buses across the UK. Working together across the UK to give market stability, stimulate innovation and investment in alternative ways, and encourage local governments and bus operators to collaborate on a decarbonised bus fleet.

Buses are at the heart of the public transportation network, linking people all over the country, creating and strengthening communities, decreasing congestion, and contributing to the UK’s high-growth, high-productivity economy.

Buses are currently one of the most environmentally efficient modes of transportation, and this regulation will ensure that their future operations have no carbon footprint – and have no detrimental impact on passengers.

The government released the Transport Decarbonisation Plan last year, which outlined our goals to decarbonize all modes of transportation.

The strategy reiterated the critical importance of public transportation in combating climate change, with buses playing a central role in the network – but also acknowledging the significant contribution of the coach and minibus industries.

To that end, we’re conducting a public consultation today on setting a deadline for the sale of new non-zero emission buses, preferably by 2032.

This consultation also includes requests for evidence on establishing an end-of-sale date for coaches and minibuses.

We announced almost £71 million in new funding late last year to support 335 zero-emission buses across five local areas in England, and we announced almost £200 million in additional funding on Saturday to support nearly 1,000 more zero-emission buses, delivering on our promise to build 4,000 new zero-emission buses across the country. From April 2022, we will continue to move farther and provide more support for zero-emission buses through the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, ahead of a larger reform to refocus the scheme on lowering emissions, leveling up, and maintaining cheap fares.

Bus Back Better, the government’s national bus plan, lays forth steps to accelerate the transition to zero-emission buses. This consultation is the first step towards fulfilling one of the strategy’s core commitments. We want zero-emission buses to be the default choice for operators not only environmentally, but also economically, with maintenance and fuel savings making it the only sensible purchase decision.

We’re putting transportation at the center of our decisions as we recover from COVID-19. Building stronger and greener infrastructure will help to make our economy more sustainable and resilient, as well as provide cleaner air and lower carbon emissions for passengers across the country. It is critical to accelerate the transition to a zero-emission bus fleet.

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