As the UK prepares to host the important COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that all new buses ordered by Transport for London (TfL) for the capital will now be zero-emission, building on its recent achievement of making its entire bus fleet compliant with strict Euro VI emission standards – the same standards as the Ultra Low Emission Zone.
The increased use of public transport is already a fundamental part of tackling the twin emergencies of toxic air pollution and climate change, but it can play an even bigger role in helping London reach the zero-emission, zero carbon future necessary to protect the health of Londoners and the environment. One of the major things that TfL can do to decarbonise its services is to remove diesel and continue to make the network zero-emission. Making buses zero-emission will save four million tonnes of carbon by 2037, and moving the date forward to 2030 will save an additional one million tonnes
TfL has already significantly invested in the zero-emission bus industry, with 950 zero-emission buses on the road or on order. With the market now more mature and expanding in the UK, TfL can guarantee that it will only purchase new zero-emission buses, so that a fully zero-emission bus network can be delivered three years earlier in 2034. However, the UK Government is aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 68 per cent by 2030. With Government support, TfL can bring London’s bus fleet into the scope of delivering on that target and achieve a fully zero-emission fleet by 2030.
The crucial announcement comes as the Mayor hosts the Zero-emission Bus Summit. The summit, organised by the Campaign for Better Transport and TfL, will see representatives from central and local government, bus operators, manufacturers and wider stakeholders meet today (Friday 17 September) at City Hall to drive forward the uptake of zero-emission buses across the UK. This work is fundamental to achieving the Government’s decarbonisation aim and improving air quality and protecting people’s health across the country. It is also a great demonstration of how tackling the climate crisis and growing our economy across the UK is about regions working together and investing in new technologies.
Making London’s large bus fleet zero-emission will give British bus manufacturers confidence in large orders enabling them to significantly ramp up production. This will allow local UK authorities to progress towards zero-emission targets that would not be possible otherwise. The acceleration of London’s shift to zero-emission is bringing down costs and enhancing products for the entire country, and with committed funding from the DfT, TfL can ensure that the Government’s commitment to 4,000 zero-emission buses can be achieved faster.
With London making up a third to half of all new bus orders in the UK in any given year, increasing the number of these buses in the capital is also supporting 3,000 jobs across the UK, such as at the Alexander Dennis (ADL) factories in Scarborough and Falkirk, Switch Mobility near Leeds and Wrightbus in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “In the year of COP26 and after setting out my ambition for London to be net zero by 2030, I’m committed to do all I can to help clean up the transport network and reduce its emissions.
“London’s toxic air is a shameful health crisis which is causing premature deaths and stunting the growth of children’s lungs. Today, as part of our work to tackle both the harmful emissions we breathe and the climate emergency, I am proud to announce that London will no longer procure new diesel or hybrid buses and will only procure zero-emission buses.
“Today’s announcement builds on the progress we’ve already made tackling toxic air pollution. I’ve worked hard to ensure TfL’s entire bus fleet across now meets the ULEZ standards, this includes 550 zero-emission buses. We need to act now and accelerate the transition to a greener future, with cleaner air for all.”
Louise Cheeseman, TfL’s Director of Buses, said: “The world has woken up to the desperate need to make big changes to tackle the climate emergency, and the single biggest thing we can do is to move to a zero-emission bus network as soon as possible.
“We’ve done everything possible to make the bus network clean and now we are focussed on making it green, which is why it’s so important that we’re able to commit that all new buses in London will be zero-emission. We’re now working to have a completely zero-emission bus network as soon as possible, and with Government support we could do this by 2030 while also stimulating the bus market.
“Every town, city and region has a part to play in reducing the country’s carbon emissions and addressing climate change. The Zero-emission Bus Summit is bringing together all the key players in the bus industry, local and national government and other stakeholders to share best practice and turbo-charge the movement to zero-emission nationally.”