North Yorkshire County Council has announced it will bid for around £8m of Government funding, as it works with The Harrogate Bus Company to try and buy 39 zero-emission buses over the next three years.
The operator’s parent company Transdev has already agreed to provide £11.5m for the project, which is due to provide 20 single-decker and 19 double-decker buses and a number of charging points.
The council has been invited to submit a business case to secure funding from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Zero Emissions Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme.
The bid must be submitted by the end of January 2022 and a decision is due to be made in March 2022.
Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “We’re near the start of a competitive process and success is not guaranteed, but this action illustrates the scale of our ambition and commitment and, if successful, could provide a blueprint for other areas of North Yorkshire.
“This project aligns with the decarbonisation ambitions we share with partners across the region to protect the environment and counter climate change.
“It would accelerate improvements in air quality, as zero emission vehicles produce no tail pipe emissions, bringing health benefits to residents and visitors.
“The quieter electric buses would also reduce noise pollution.”
Alex Hornby, Transdev chief executive, said: “We have already created a low-emission bus fleet in Harrogate thanks to the huge investment we have made in the past few years in the most advanced buses available for our customers.
“We hope this bid – alongside our significant further multi-million pound investment – will lead to the next exciting step of our vision to create a completely zero-emission bus network, powered by a fully-electric fleet.
“With our partners at North Yorkshire County Council, we aim to create further improvements in infrastructure to deliver even better, quicker and more reliable journeys by bus.”
He added: “This comes at a time when we believe our town is ready to embrace more sustainable forms of travel.”