Lib Dems call for Cabinet to apply for extra bus funding

March 3, 2020 6:41 PM
Cllr Ruth Skelton, Cllr Ruth Skelton and Danielle Lind at a local bus stopOne piece of good news from the City Council's budget meeting was cross party support for the 17A bus service. The £9000 a year funding for this service was included as an amendment to the budget. The service will hopefully be funded from a Government grant for this purpose. The fund was announced last September, but this extra funding has not yet been requested. The deadline for doing so - and receiving the money when it is needed in April - is the 13th March, less than two weeks away.

The long budget meeting finished without debating a motion calling for this grant to be requested - and also for the Council to express an interest in becoming an electric bus city. There is up to £50 million available from the Government to support a town or city having only electric powered buses.

Liberal Democrat councillor, Lucy Care was due to move the motion. She said "While a large majority of buses in Derby meet the best standards for diesel buses, they still contribute to Derby's air quality challenges. It is also not easy for them to become 'zero carbon'. Electric buses could be powered from renewable electricity and help Derby to achieve changes it must make to combat the climate emergency."

Seconder of the motion, fellow Lib Dem councillor Steve Willoughby said "Derby prides itself on being an innovative transport city. It would be great if we could show the way in Britain and become the first electric only bus city. Derby has two main bus service providers, both of which have a reputation for being willing to embrace new ideas. It would be great for the City Council to work with them to achieve this change for Derby. Hopefully it would also inspire more people to use public transport more often and their car less."

Expressions of interest for the all electric bus town need to be in by 30 April - before the next scheduled full Council meeting in May. Councillors Lucy Care and Stephen Willoughby have therefore written to the leader and relevant Cabinet members asking that they formally request Derby's allocation from the Supported Bus Fund and put in an expression of interest to become an All Electric Bus Town before the relevant deadlines.

Read the letter calling for the Council to apply for a grant for electric buses in Derby