Applications for funding grants under the first round of the Low Emission Bus Scheme need to be submitted to the Office for Low Emissions by the end of October.
The Department for Transport has allocated up to £30 million over three years, with the first allocations expected in January.
The purpose of the scheme is to encourage new low carbon technologies that reduce overall well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions by at least 15%. OLEV claims that its assessment is the most comprehensive in the world.
In order to qualify as a Low Emissions Bus, a vehicle must generate a minimum of 15% less greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional Euro-5 diesel bus. Funding will be proportional to the savings in emissions, and all vehicles must meet Euro-6 emissions standards.
Funding will be capped at 75% of the incremental cost of the Low Emissions Bus over an equivalent conventional vehicle, and bids can include any fuelling infrastructure required. Additional funds are available for vehicles that have a ‘zero emission’ capability and that can drive through inner London in zero emission mode. Funding can be further increased for increased zero emission range.
It is estimated that funding from the grants will make purchasing of Low Emissions Buses very economical for operators, with the operational savings able to pay back the capital investment very rapidly.