The Government’s announcement as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn statement of a £25 million extension of the Green Bus Fund (GBF) has been warmly welcomed by bus manufacturer Optare’s CEO Jim Sumner.
Since Optare introduced eco-friendly buses across its range three years ago it has benefitted significantly from GBF support to its customers. From a total of 540 buses that received GBF aid under previous phases, almost 150 of them were supplied by Optare.
Speaking of the GBF extension, Transport Minister Norman Baker MP, said: “I have been up and down the country meeting with bus operators and manufacturers and one of the things they have consistently been asking for is another round of the Green Bus Fund. I am therefore delighted to announce that they have got one. A further £25 million to fund greener buses across England and a welcome boost to jobs and manufacturing.
“Great British buses have always been attractive ways to get around, and Britain is fast becoming a world leader in clean, green bus manufacturing. This new money will help the industry create even more skilled jobs and get our economy growing.”
The most recent of Mr Baker’s visits to bus manufacturers was to Optare’s new state-of-the-art plant at Sherburn-in-Elmet, Yorkshire, at which he saw a range of advanced low-emission buses, including the zero emission Solo EV model, in production.
“Everyone in the bus industry – operators and manufacturers alike – have been calling for the Government to build on the success of its GBF initiative which has significantly stimulated the use of low emission vehicles,” said Optare’s CEO, Jim Sumner. “So it’s great news that our views have been listened too and that this substantial additional funding has been made available.
“This initiative has raised the level of demand from UK bus operators for low carbon buses and enabled companies like ours to accelerate the development of this technology. On the back of rising UK demand we have also been able to take this technology, and our fuel efficient buses into international markets bringing much needed overseas revenues into the UK economy.”