The Liberal Democrats have announced that they would create a £2 billion fund to oversee the conversion of every bus fleet in England to hydrogen or electric powered vehicles.
Liberal Democrats have proposed a £20 billion “Clean Air Fund”, which not only includes money to convert buses, but also to fund more bus routes and invest in walking and cycling. The policy comes as the party has promised to ‘decarbonise england, creating greener, cleaner communities’ ahead of the May local elections.
They are also calling for the conversion of the rail network to ultra-low-emission technology by 2035 as part of a significant investment in public transport. Much of England’s buses are diesel powered, which is responsible for the high levels of particulate matter found in air pollution. The funding would be provided directly to local authorities in England to support their local bus companies with the initial costs of replacing and upgrading their buses to low emission vehicles.
Councils would decide how best to use the money, but it could be provided in the form of low-interest loans to the more profitable routes, or in the form of grants to less profitable, but important routes. Liberal Democrats would also remove the restrictions on local authorities running their bus companies.
Commenting on the “hydrogen bus revolution” Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport Sarah Olney MP said: “Our public transport is in dire need of a green energy revolution with significant investment to help decarbonise England.
“By converting the nation’s fleets of buses from diesel guzzlers to ultra-low emission technology we can ensure that our roads and highways are greener and quieter and the air is cleaner.
“The Conservatives across the nation have neglected our bus services while London’s Labour Mayor has woefully failed to revolutionise our capital. Liberal Democrats would decarbonise England, creating a hydrogen bus revolution and ensuring our communities are greener and cleaner for all.”