Ministers give double boost for low-carbon road transport and aviation

The UK Government has provided a helping hand for low-carbon transport with separate funding announcements for cleaner buses and waste-based fuels for planes and lorries.


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Several local authorities and bus companies across the UK will receive a share of £11m investment to help them buy 153 low-emission vehicles, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed yesterday (28 August).

The funding has been awarded under the Government’s ‘Low emission bus scheme’, and successful bidders in Brighton, Bristol, Denbighshire, Surrey and Wiltshire will also benefit from new charging stations for the electric and gas buses.

“Low emission buses are an important part of our plans to make motoring cleaner and improve air quality across the country,” Transport Minister Paul Maynard said. “New greener buses will be more comfortable for passengers, they are cost efficient and are good for the environment.”

Last month the Government published its air quality plan which outlined a ban on all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040.

Sustainable aviation

The DfT’s latest announcement comes alongside separate funding to help develop sustainable fuels from waste materials for aircraft and HGVs. The £22m investment will be available for projects that produce low-carbon waste-based fuels for vehicles too heavy to use electric power, with 70 groups in bidding for the competition.

DfT estimates that low-carbon transport fuels from waste materials could be worth £600m a year by 2030, and help to create up to 9,800 jobs.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “We are committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new environmentally-friendly fuels that will help us meet that goal. We are making funding available to innovative businesses which will lead the way in developing alternative fuels that are efficient, sustainable and clean.”

Ministers claim that planes and lorries powered by waste fuels could use up to 90% less carbon than traditional fossil fuels. The funding comes after a string of trials of sustainable jet fuel made from waste materials across Europe and North America.

FedEx, which operates a fleet of more than 600 aircrafts, last year forged an agreement with Colorado-based firm Red Rock Biofuels to purchase alternative jet fuel, which will support the company in its pledge to obtain 30% of its jet fuel from alternative sources by 2030.

Virgin Atlantic has also introduced new measures to create a low-carbon fuel, by recycling carbon in waste industrial gases through clean tech firm LanzaTech. Virgin Atlantic has described the alcohol-to-jet fuel as a “gamechanger”, with at least three million gallons set to be generated through the partnership.

George Ogleby

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