South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis said £8.3 million has been secured for the bus fleet after he made a successful bid to the government’s Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme, which was launched last year.
Only 12 areas were chosen to receive funding under the programme, which will give South Yorkshire a financial boost create a fleet of up to 27 buses and build charging infrastructure.
He said: “This is a huge step in making our bus system fit for the future. Cutting edge new zero emission buses will help attract people back onto public transport.
"They will cut pollution on our streets that is implicated in 17,000 premature deaths across the UK.
"They will help us reduce the carbon emissions that are fuelling a global climate crisis. And they will cut our operating costs, freeing up money for better services.
“I’ve always argued that our ambition for our buses should be nothing less than a world-class service. This is only a beginning, but it sets us on the right path for that transformation. Now we need to build on it.”
The Government said that the move is expected to remove over 57,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the country's air each year, as well as 22 tonnes of nitrogen oxides on average, as the it works to reach net zero emissions, clean up the transportation network, and rebuild greener.
Welcoming the news, Louise Haigh MP for Sheffield Heeley, said: “This is fantastic news for South Yorkshire and is testament to the hard work of Mayor Dan Jarvis that he’s been able to secure £8.3 million from the government.
“If we are to reach our net zero targets, it’s essential that we decarbonise our public transport system. Transport on the roads makes up 40 per cent of our carbon emissions, we have to hurry up and move from petrol and diesel.
“This funding will enable the region to run 27 buses across South Yorkshire and more importantly, to install the infrastructure to ensure more electric buses can be added to the fleet.”
The Government has also launched a public consultation seeking views on setting a specific date between 2025 and 2032 for ending the sale of new non-zero emission (at the tailpipe) buses.
This would mean that, from 2032 at the very latest, the sale of all new buses, powered either in part, or totally, by an internal combustion engine would cease to be allowed.
Any new buses sold from that date would need to be fully zero-emission at the tail pipe and the end of sales would apply across the whole of the UK.
Such a move would bolster the market for zero-emission buses, making them the default choice for operators to transition sooner.
The case for zero-emission buses was made in the recently published South Yorkshire Bus Service Improvement Plan, and in the Bus Review led by Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts.