Last reviewed 18 January 2021

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that Coventry and Oxford are developing proposals to become the first parts of the UK to run all-electric bus services.

They are developing business cases in an England-wide competition to switch an entire town or city’s bus fleet to electric vehicles.

Subject to this exercise being successful, each city could be awarded up to £50 million to not only replace its entire fleet of buses with all-electric versions, but also to install new infrastructure, such as charging stations, and to pay for electric grid updates.

Mr Shapps said: “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.”

The change to a cleaner and greener bus fleet will, he went on, help to improve air quality and reduce emissions, further delivering on the Government’s efforts to decarbonise the transport network.

The Government received 19 bids from across England to become the first all-electric bus town or city. Applicants were required to demonstrate support from stakeholders in their local areas, outline existing plans to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and improve air quality and show how the plan would tackle an existing air quality problem.

Oxfordshire County Council Leader, Councillor Ian Hudspeth, said: “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.”

The Government will work with both local authorities to finalise their business cases over the coming weeks. The UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy will be launched later this year to ensure buses are prioritised into the future.