Coventry and Oxford are set to receive up to £50m to help them become the first parts of the UK to run all-electric bus services, the transport secretary has announced.
The two cities are developing business cases in a competition which aims to encourage local authorities to switch their bus fleets to more environmentally-friendly electric vehicles.
As part of the competition, the Government has received 19 bids from areas across England. Those who make successful bids could be awarded up to £50m to purchase all-electric buses and install new infrastructure.
The move to electric bus fleets is aimed at improving air quality and reducing emissions.
‘As we build back greener from COVID-19, we can provide people with more environmentally-friendly transport and cleaner air,’ said transport secretary Grant Shapps.
‘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: ‘This news is brilliant for Coventry and the West Midlands, and I am delighted the secretary of state and his department have once again put their faith in our region to deliver.
‘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, commented: ‘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.’