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Norfolk County Council submits proposal which could see fully electric bus depot in Norwich

Norfolk County Council, 13 December 2022 00:00

Norfolk County Council has submitted a proposal to the department for Transport (DfT) which could see up to 70 zero-emission buses arriving in Norwich in 2024.

In March this year the council secured £3.3m funding after a joint bid with First Bus was submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) for funding from the 'Zero Emission Bus Regional Access' (ZEBRA) scheme. The bid was matched by £3.6m of local investment from First Bus and will deliver 15 battery electric buses which will be in operation by March 2024 along with supporting infrastructure and electrical grid upgrade works.

Since then, the DfT has invited all cities that were successful in receiving ZEBRA funding to submit a change to the scope of their schemes, which could include additional buses and electrical charging infrastructure.

Following discussions with First Bus, the Council has developed a proposal for an additional 55 zero emission double decker buses to also be operational by March 2024. If successful there will also be a need to install an additional 57 fast chargers at the Rowntree Way First Bus depot.

Cabinet member for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport Martin Wilby said:

"We are excited that we already have the 15 buses confirmed to be in operation in 2024 but to have the opportunity to increase this to a potential 70 buses was one not to be missed. If successful, this will be an extraordinary boost to our ambitions to run a net-zero transport system in Norfolk. The support that First bus has shown for this demonstrates the excellent working relationship we have with our bus operators here in Norfolk and how working together can help to achieve the very best for our County."

Piers Marlow, Managing Director at First East of England said:

"This proposal will enable our Roundtree Way bus depot in Norwich to operate an entire zero emission bus fleet. This means we can remove all diesel infrastructure and engineering equipment and demonstrates our commitment to zero emission buses going forwards and our alignment to the Government's ambitions for a net-zero carbon transport system.

"We will continue to work closely with Norfolk County Council to deliver bus priority for customers in Norwich and progress the decarbonisation of our bus fleets across the region."

The bus routes that these additional zero emission buses would serve all operate in Greater Norwich and will run through the city centre, which is currently declared an Air Quality Management Area.

The switch from conventional diesel engine buses to electric would reduce Co2 emissions by more than 80,000 tonnes - which is equivalent to taking around 4700 small petrol cars off the road. It will also save 32 tonnes of NOx and PM2.5 every year. These are the fine particles and other exhaust gasses known to reduce air quality and harm people's health.

We anticipate hearing back from the DfT with a decision on our proposal by the end of the year.


Notes to Editor

  • The total scheme cost is £25,110,250 and if successful will be funded from the following sources:
  • DfT investment of £8,671,753
  • First Bus investment of £16,438,497
  • The delegated decision report for this submission can be found here - CMIS > Delegated Decisions
  • Norfolk County Council has committed to achieve 'net zero' carbon emissions on its estates by 2030, but within its wider area, to work with partners towards 'carbon neutrality'. This also supports the government's ambition for a net zero country by 2050. We will achieve this by implementing carbon conscious ways of working across our buildings and supply chain; putting in place the right infrastructure across the county to support the move towards net-zero; and by working together with partners to lead and inspire our colleagues, citizens, communities and businesses to take action and play their part in protecting Norfolk for future generations.
Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:44

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