Government Launches £120m Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas Fund

The Government has announced a new £120 million fund as part of the Prime Minister’s pledge to introduce 4,000 Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs) and support the ambitions set out in the National Bus Strategy.

The Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) 2021-2022 scheme will be a place based scheme that will allow areas, led by local transport authorities, working in close partnership with bus operators or as consortia with more stakeholders, to bid for funding to purchase ZEBs and the infrastructure needed to support them.

The department will be looking for ambitious local transport authorities and bus operators to work together to submit proposals to begin the wide scale roll out of ZEBs as soon as possible.

The ZEBRA scheme has the following key aims:

  • To support the government’s commitment to decarbonisation and to reduce the transport sector’s contribution to CO2 emissions
  • To support the roll-out of the 4,000 Zero Emission Buses that the government committed to in February 2020
  • To support bus manufacturers in the development of zero emission bus technology
  • To support partnership working between Local Transport Authorities, bus operators, and other local stakeholders as set out in the National Bus Strategy
  • To understand better the challenges of introducing zero emission buses and supporting infrastructure to inform future government support for Zero Emission Buses.

Local transport authorities in England, outside London, are eligible to apply.

There is up to £120 million available in total. Funding will be allocated between the fast-track and the standard process:

  • Fast-track process – Up to £70 million
  • Standard process – Up to £50 million.

While there is no minimum or maximum size for bids the department is interested in supporting at least three areas across the ZEBRA scheme as a whole, so expect to see schemes that are approximately £25 million – £35 million.

Local transport authorities will be able to choose whether they want to follow a fast-track application process or a standard application process, depending on how well developed their proposal is and how quickly they can complete their proposal.

Expressions of Interest (EOI) must be submitted by the following deadlines: Fast-track process: 21 May 2021; Standard process: 25 June 2021.