By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy ADL UK

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT has launched the first £50 million phase of a new Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB) for 2021, it announced recently.

ScotZEB was unveiled by Scotland Transport Minister Graeme Dey at the Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce, which brings together senior leaders from the energy, bus and finance sectors to co-design a pathway to a fully decarbonised bus fleet.

The Fund replaces previous funding streams and is designed to encourage the market to agree and implement new and innovative ways to finance zero-emission buses, it explains.

Building on the success of the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme, ScotZEB will now support Scotland’s green recovery, providing immediate economic stimulus and supporting the Scottish Government’s bold ambitions to decarbonise the bus fleet, it adds.

ScotZEB was unveiled by Scotland Transport Minister Graeme Dey at the Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce, which brings together senior leaders from the energy, bus and finance sectors to co-design a pathway to a fully decarbonised bus fleet. 

"To accelerate progress towards a zero-emission bus fleet, we committed to convene a meeting of the Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce within our first 100 days," said Dey.

"The Scottish Government has come to the table with an evolved offer for zero-emission bus funding – building on the experience of previous schemes and designed in a way that maximises opportunities to attract sustainable financing and encourage innovative ways of doing so.

"£50 million is available in 2021 to help drive a green recovery, responding to the global climate emergency and to improve air quality. "I’m excited to see results from the ScotZEB Challenge Fund and expect to offer a larger pot of funding in 2022 once it demonstrates its success," Dey stated.

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Zenobē co-founder and director Steven Meersman said: "We’re incredibly proud to be part of Scotland’s net-zero journey, helping to make sustainable, green transport accessible and affordable."

"The Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme has already facilitated pioneering zero-emissions transport projects in Dundee and Glasgow, highlighting what’s possible when there is strong collaboration between bus operators, government and business.

"We look forward to the ScotZEB scheme building on this success to further accelerate the update of zero-emission electric buses."



ADL president and managing director Paul Davies said: "The Scottish Government continues to lead the way in funding cleaner, greener buses. "We look forward to working with bus operators and the energy and finance sectors to ensure the benefits of this funding are felt across communities in Scotland.

"Its investment in local supply chains, such as our production of electric and hydrogen buses in Falkirk, will underpin skilled jobs and apprenticeships that are vital for the transition to net zero," Davies explained.

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Only last month, Scottish Lowlands-based Lothian Buses’ first four ADL-BYD Enviro400EV electric double deckers were received.

Their introduction was funded as a flagship project of SP Energy Networks’ £20m Green Economy Fund, ADL confirms.

SP Energy Networks is part of the ScottishPower group, a Principal Partner for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in four months’ time.

Through the Green Economy Fund, SP Energy Networks is investing in the communities that it serves to support the UK and Scottish governments’ green energy ambitions, it explains.

The four BYD ADL Enviro400EV buses were built locally by ADL in Falkirk, further benefitting the Scottish economy, says ADL.

Lothian Buses will use the electric buses, each of which is 10.8m long and has seats for up to 72 passengers, on its route 10 between Leith, Edinburgh city centre and Bonaly, it states.

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Their introduction enables Edinburgh to take a major step in its journey towards the city becoming Net Zero by 2030, says ADL.

These buses will bring immediate benefits to the city and the communities in which they operate, helping improve the city’s air quality and reducing pollution, it adds.

Lothian Buses interim managing director Nigel Serafini said: "Across the last decade, Lothian has removed around 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from our carbon footprint through our fleet replacement strategies, and the introduction of Edinburgh’s first fully electric double decker buses allows us to continue on this journey, further reducing our impact on the environment."

"These new buses are fitted with the most advanced zero-emissions technology and the introduction of these vehicles across our Service 10 further cements our commitment to meet the requirements of the Scottish Government and The City of Edinburgh Council’s climate change strategies. "We’re delighted to have been able to partner with SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund on this project and look forward to working with them again in the future."

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ADL’s Davies said: "These new electric buses take our collaboration with Lothian Buses to the next step by further reducing emissions and improving air quality while continuing to reinvest in the Scottish economy and local communities where we assemble our buses."

"The BYD ADL partnership’s combination of BYD’s proven battery technology and ADL’s world-class focus on vehicle specification ensures that drivers, engineers and passengers alike will love these buses."

BYD UK managing director Frank Thorpe added: "It’s enormously encouraging to see initiatives like the Green Economy Fund supporting the switch to eMobility. As a result, Scotland is embracing electrification as enthusiastically as any nation in Europe."

"I’m also delighted to see forward-thinking operators, like Lothian Buses, looking increasingly to the BYD ADL partnership to deliver not only the highest quality electric buses, but also genuine long-term economic and environmental benefits for Scottish towns and cities."

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SP Energy Networks COO Guy Jefferson said: "This is an historic moment in Edinburgh’s journey to Net Zero. The four new electric double-decker buses will serve one of the busiest bus routes in the capital and provide a blueprint for other routes across the city."

"Edinburgh has ambitious plans to be a leading UK Net Zero emissions city by 2030, but for that to happen there needs to be big changes.

"The introduction of this new technology will improve air quality and noise pollution while supporting the city’s green recovery from the pandemic.


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