Vision to bring 3,000 hydrogen buses to the streets of the UK announced


Industry leaders, campaign groups and academics have today challenged the government’s “deliberate” and “misjudged” bias against hydrogen buses in its pursuit of decarbonising public transport.

Spearheaded by Jacob Young MP, chair of the Hydrogen All Party Parliamentary Group, a letter has been submitted to transport secretary Grant Shapps. It has been signed by a number of organisations looking to grow the UK’s hydrogen economy, including the Campaign for Better Transport and Greener Journeys, as well as energy giants Shell and Bosch, and says a decision to only trial electric buses does not maximise opportunities on offer and calls for an ‘All Hydrogen Bus Town’.

We can’t have our eggs all in one basket and it’s important that we look at alternative fuels like hydrogen as a way of achieving this

Young, who is Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “Decarbonising public transport is one of the cornerstones in achieving our net zero carbon emissions target. We can’t have our eggs all in one basket and it’s important that we look at alternative fuels like hydrogen as a way of achieving this.”

“Hydrogen stands to play a major role in a zero emission economy and creating an All Hydrogen Bus Town provides the opportunity for thousands of green jobs, in areas like Teesside, and will unlock innovation in a number of sectors, placing the UK as global leaders in hydrogen technology.

“We cannot allow coronavirus to knock us off course to achieving net zero, and delivering an All Hydrogen Bus Town would be a hugely symbolic indication to businesses across the world, that the UK continues to be the place to invest, research and manufacture hydrogen technologies”.

Earlier this year the government announced plans for an Electric Bus Town, which has seen councils bidding for a £50m grant to buy new battery electric buses. The scheme explicitly prohibits hydrogen electric buses being purchased in this plan, despite there being a growing demand for them across the country.

The letter describes this decision as missing “a vital opportunity to trial clean, green, UK-made technology at a significant scale”.

Buta Atwal, chief executive of Wrightbus, the Ballymena-bases bus manufacturer that last week announced plans to build 3,000 hydrogen buses, said: “We have created the world’s first hydrogen electric double decker bus, which emits only water as they move around cities.

It is bizarre that a British designed and built bus is not eligible to be bought by a local council under this government scheme

“These buses will enter London and Aberdeen this year, with more cities after that. It is bizarre that a British designed and built bus is not eligible to be bought by a local council under this government scheme.”

Hydrogen as a fuel for buses, trains, lorries, vans, taxis and emergencies is becoming increasingly seen as vital for improving air quality in towns and cities, with King’s College London estimated that up to 36,000 people die from air pollution every year in the UK.

Jason Torrance, policy director at local authority clean air network UK100, said: “As local authorities begin to look to the future of long-term economic recovery from Covid-19, hydrogen power for buses must play a key role in an improved public transport system that is good for our environment, air quality and the economy.”

Bosch, the global engineering and technology giant, suggested that the creation of an All Hydrogen Bus Town would be a symbol that the UK is a smart place for businesses to make long term investment and manufacturing decisions.

Eman Martin-Vignerte, head of Bosch’s UK governmental and political relationships said: “At Bosch, we believe that hydrogen will play a major role in heating homes, powering transport and heavy industry. We are already manufacturing hydrogen-ready boilers at our site in the West Midlands, and we’re looking to the government to take some ambitious, positive steps to help unlock the UK’s hydrogen potential. Creating an All Hydrogen Bus Town would be a powerful statement to businesses looking to make long term investment decisions.”

Signatories to the letter:

  • Jacob Young MP, Chair of the Hydrogen All Party Parliamentary Group
  • Jo Bamford, Executive Chairman of Ryse Hydrogen
  • Buta Atwal, Chief Executive of Wrightbus
  • Jason Torrence, Policy Director, UK100
  • Eman Martin-Vignerte , External Affairs, Governmental and Political Relationships, Bosch
  • Mike Copson, Hydrogen Commercial Manager, Shell
  • Angus McIntosh, Director of Energy Futures, SGNDarren Shirley, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport
  • Alistari Hinton, UK Hydrogen Lead, Vattenfall
  • Jesper Themsen, CEO & President, Ballard Power Systems Europe
  • Prof Gavin Walker, Director of Centre of Doctoral Training in Sustainable Hydrogen, University of Nottingham
  • Sally Brewis, Director of Sustainable Energy Solutions, Innovation to Industry
  • Maurice Dixon, Director of Sustainable Energy Solutions, Sustainable Working and Living Environments Ltd
  • Stephen Jones, VP for Europe, Bayotech
  • Prof. Tony Roski, Director, Durham Energy Institute
  • Dr Andrew Smallbone, Network H2
  • Michael Gibson, Managing Director, Storengy
  • Sam Gomersall, Hydrogen Champion, Pale Blu
  • Steve Fraser, Chief Executive, Cadent
  • Claire Haigh, Chief Executive, Greener Journeys
  • Benji Sykes, Head of Market Development, Consenting and External Affairs, Ørsted UK
  • Tracey Fuller, Head of CSR, Arval
  • Jon André Løkke, CEO, NEL ASA
  • David Gill, Director of Stakeholder Relations, Northern Gas Networks
  • Dr Pauline Lawson, Head of Political Affairs and Communications UK, Uniper
  • Clare Jackson, Project Manager, Hydrogen Hub
  • Howard White, Deputy Chairman, Waste2Tricity
  • Vidal Bharath, COO, Bramble,
  • Hugo Spowers, Managing Director, Riversimple
  • Chris Mason-Whitton, Director, Progressive Energy
  • Jeff House, Head of External Affairs, Baxi
  • Dr Michaela Kendall, Chief Executive Officer, Adelan
  • Andy Walker, Technical Marketing, Johnson Matthey
  • Chris Clarke, Energy Strategy Director, Wales and West Utilities
  • Amy M. Adams, Vice President, Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies, Cummins
  • Neil Atkinson, Chief Executive Officer, IGEM
  • Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO, ZeroAvia
  • Dr Lee Juby, Chief Sales Officer, Intelligent Energy
  • Hari Vamadevan, DNV GL
  • Jan Klawitter, Head of International Policy, Anglo American
  • Ellen Daniels, Chief Executive, BCGA

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