Bid to bring electric bus scheme to Suffolk – and here’s where it’s likely to be
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Electric buses could be en route to Suffolk under plans to bid for government cash for a pilot scheme.
At a meeting of Suffolk County Council's scrutiny committee, Conservative deputy cabinet member for transport, Alexander Nicoll, said the council was planning to bid for around £20 million from the Department for Transport for the scheme.
He said the intention was to make the bid soon to launch it "in the next 12 to 18 months" and would be a pilot around the Bury St Edmunds area.
The DfT announced a £220m pot in September to help local authorities across the country boost their take up of electric vehicles, with schemes in the West Midlands and Cornwall already having secured cash.
Conservative councillor Andrew Reid, cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, said: "It is our ambition to bid for a share of funding that had been announced by the DfT in September for the 2020/2021 financial year.
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"Our bid will look to find solutions to improve passenger transport in areas of Suffolk while also targeting other factors such as sustainable transport and air quality."
It is not yet clear what the timeline for the bid will be, or when the council may find out if it has been successful.
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A council spokesman said the authority was unable to provide more details at this stage on where the pilot would run or for how many buses.
It is also not yet known whether the buses would be all-electric or electric/diesel hybrids.
Earlier this year the council declared a climate emergency which included a pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030, with electric vehicles going someway to helping achieve that goal.
A cross-party task force has also been established to help come up with measures to help the council be more environmentally friendly, with early ideas expected to be made public in the first half of 2020.
Sarah Adams, Labour group leader said: "In theory, this sounds like a positive move - we would welcome any investment in green and sustainable forms of public transport after a decade of brutal cuts.
"The Labour Party have been demanding that the Tories in power at Suffolk County Council reverse their cuts and start investing in Suffolk's bus services - let's hope this indicates that they are finally listening.
"However, we have been given very little information about this initiative so we hope and expect to receive much more detail in due course."