08 Dec 2021

£30million electric bus boost for Derry

Foyle MP Eastwood says announcement is proof of SDLP "delivering in Government" as new environmentally-friendly buses to hit city's streets by 2023

Colum Eastwood

Foyle MP Colum Eastwood said of the £30million electric bus deal for Derry announced by SDLP Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon: "While others talk the talk, the SDLP is walking the walk."

Foyle MP Colum Eastwood, has applauded SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon’s announcement of £30million of investment to provide new emission zero battery electric buses for Derry.

The SDLP leader, who is currently at the COP26 Conference in Glasgow, said the move would make Derry “cleaner and greener” as well as improving the city's air quality.

He also said the announcement was further proof that the SDLP were “delivering in Government”.

Mr Eastwood said: “The time for talking is over. Now is the time for action. With the clock ticking down on the climate crisis, the SDLP at every level is pushing for radical rapid reform to protect our local environment.

“Today, our Minister has once again proved that the SDLP is delivering in Government. While others talk the talk, the SDLP is walking the walk.

“This £30million for Derry will see our city have a fully zero emission bus fleet in service by 2023.

“This will make our city cleaner and greener, improving local air quality and making a positive impact on the climate crisis.

“In Glasgow at COP26 the SDLP is pushing others to step up and work with us. Now is time for all shoulders to the wheel to end the crisis facing our planet.

“The SDLP is ready and willing to continue to play our part by acting now.”

Mayor Graham Warke also welcomed the announcement saying the investment is “in line with the Council's ongoing commitment to climate action”.

He said “This is fantastic news for the city and for all public transport users.

“By replacing the current Foyle Metro fleet with new zero emission battery electric buses the Department and Translink are providing cleaner and greener transport facilities for our city and helping make a positive impact on our air quality and our ongoing commitment to protecting our local environment.

“I strongly believe that low emission public transport in our city will make it more accessible to local communities.

“The announcement today of this investment is in line with the Council’s ongoing commitment to climate action and the work we are doing to ensure the protection of our environment is included in all our strategies and plans going forward.

“Sustainable transport is also a key element of our Strategic Growth Plan and a key objective of our ambitious City Deal plans, so this announcement is very timely.”

The electric buses will see Derry's entire urban fleet, Foyle Metro, replaced with electric buses making it one of the first cities in both Ireland and Britain to have a fully zero-emission bus fleet when all the vehicles go into passenger service in 2023.

Ms Mallon made the announcement during a virtual address to the United Nations COP26 Global Climate Conference in Glasgow at an event hosted by Translink who were invited to share their experiences on the transformative journey to de-carbonise the North of Ireland's public transport.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “I have an ambitious vision for a low carbon future and I am committed to delivering cleaner, greener, sustainable infrastructure.

“I have been clear that tackling the climate crisis is a priority for me and I am committed to building a better future where we make zero/low emission public transport accessible to communities across the North.

“My Department previously allocated funding of almost £74million for the purchase of 145 zero and low emission buses for the Translink fleet.

“I am delighted today, at COP26, to announce additional funding of £30million for the purchase of 38 new zero emission battery electric buses for the Foyle Metro fleet which will allow Derry to have a fully zero-emission bus fleet when all the vehicles go into passenger service in 2023.

“Their arrival will herald a new cleaner and greener era in transport for the city and will make a positive impact on the climate emergency and help enhance air quality.

“These are the changes we need to see to help us tackle climate change and contribute to better health outcomes for all our population. I will continue to make positive steps to choose cleaner, greener travel.”

Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway added: “Today marks a further milestone in the journey to achieve our ambitious targets to make public transport carbon net zero by 2040 and go beyond to be climate positive by 2050.

“We have been delighted to make this announcement at COP26 and showcase the actions we are taking to tackle the climate emergency and drive positive change for a healthier and more sustainable transport for future generations to come.

“We will have over 100 zero emission buses in passenger service next spring making up over a third of our Metro fleet.

“Now this latest order will mean 100 per cent of urban bus services within the city of Derry will be zero emission not only making bus travel even more attractive and efficient but enhancing local air quality for everyone that lives, works and visits the city.

“There will be a mix of both single and double decker buses bringing enhanced capacity and with the latest passenger comfort features including WiFi, USB chargers and accessibility features like audio visual next stop announcements, this is great news for everyone.

“We would like to thank the Minister and the Department for their ongoing vision and support. We will continue to work with all stakeholders collaboratively to harness a shift in attitude and behaviour towards more sustainable transport for a better future for everyone.”

All the new zero emission electric buses are due to be in service during 2023.

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