Hopes raised for £125 million electric bus scheme in Warwickshire

  Posted: 01.02.21 at 11:28 by David Lawrence - Local Democracy Reporter

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Electric buses could be introduced across Warwickshire after the Department of Transport shortlisted a joint venture between the county and Coventry.

If successful it will mean more than 300 new vehicles taking to the roads linking all the major towns – from Nuneaton and Atherstone in the north to Rugby and Warwick in the south.

The joint proposal was one of just two given the green light for the next phase by the Government, the other being in Oxford. A full business case will now be submitted by the end of February.

A report considered by Warwickshire County Council’s latest cabinet meeting explained that the All Electric Bus Town Initiative involves upgrading the entire bus fleet with full electric buses or buses capable of operating in electric, zero-emission mode.

The Department of Transport will contribute up to 75 per cent of the cost difference between a zero-emission bus and a standard conventional diesel bus and the same percentage towards the cost of the capital expenditure incurred for supporting electric charging.

Cllr Heather Timms (Con, Earl Craven), the council’s portfolio holder for environment and culture, said: “As the climate change champion for Warwickshire I feel this is a beautiful project for us to be taking forward.

“There were 19 expressions of interest and we were one of only two to win through so I think we have to pay tribute to the officers who worked on this.

“The air quality implications for our primary towns in Warwickshire is immeasurable so this is great in going forward.”

A total of 325 buses would be replaced in Coventry and Warwickshire and the project is expected to cost around £125m with bus operators contributing £70m and the DfT £49.9m.

Councillors at the cabinet meeting approved £1.366m from the capital investment fund towards the electric charging infrastructure for the buses conditional on the full business case being approved by the Department for Transport.

Cllr Jeff Clarke (Con, Nuneaton East), the portfolio holder for transport and planning, said: “This is a fantastic scheme for Coventry and Warwickshire. The new technology will bring some 300 buses into the network.”

And Cllr Keith Kondakor (Green, Weddington) added: “It is about joining Coventry and Warwickshire. All too often the Coventry buses stopped at the edge of the city and we need to create an integrated transport system.”

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