For immediate release: 26th April 2024







      • Six years remaining to meet low carbon bus targets set by mayoral authorities



      • Mayoral authorities in danger of missing targets



      • Almost 30,000 buses across the UK still run on diesel






    English Mayors are not meeting their own bus decarbonisation targets



    Most Mayoral Authorities in England have set ambitious targets for decarbonising their bus fleets by 2040 or sooner, but with just six years to go until the target date for some of 2030, fulfillment is looking unlikely.



    New research from Climate Emergency UK found that English Mayoral Authorities need to more than double their current rate of transitioning to zero emission buses if they are going to reach their own 2030 or 2040 targets.



    Clean buses are an integral part of improving public transport, thereby cutting emissions and improving air quality. Boris Johnson, himself a former London Mayor, famously backed a ‘green bus revolution‘ that would see diesel buses become a thing of the past.



    But across 8 English Mayoral Authorities in existence (not including London, Liverpool and the newly created York and North Yorkshire and East Midlands County Combined Authority), just 7% of buses in use are zero emission, despite all combined authorities authorities, except Tees Valley, having a target for a zero emission bus fleet by 2040 or sooner.



    Two authorities, Tees Valley and South Yorkshire, have no zero emission buses at all. The Greater London Authority has the highest number of zero emission buses, at 14.44% of its total fleet, with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough coming second at 12.65%. Although they are leading the way compared to other regions, London and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have a target of 2030 for all their buses to be zero emissions, which, at the current rate of decarbonisation they are unlikely to meet.



    Climate Emergency UK (CE UK) used information in their Council Climate Action Scorecards and Freedom of Information requests sent to Mayoral Authorities in February 2024 to uncover data for each  region, and compared this against the authorities’ own targets.



    Annie Pickering, Operations Director at Climate Emergency UK, said, “With less than 6 years left, English Mayors need to double down their efforts to decarbonise their bus fleet by 2030. They can use their collective power to lobby the national government for further support and secure investment to finance further bus fleet decarbonisation at the scale and pace that is needed when we are facing a climate emergency.”



    Across England, only 4% of buses are zero emission. Last month the Department of Transport released funding for almost 1,000 new electric buses across England, but this falls below what is needed to convert all remaining 28,948 diesel buses across England.



    Fran Postlethwaite, Better Buses Campaign Coordinator added “Buses are the backbone of our communities and electric buses are the future. Progress for more electric buses hasn’t been fast enough, we need the newly elected Mayors to double down on their commitments for zero-emission bus fleets and use their influence to lobby for the funding and support needed to decarbonise. To help them do this the UK government must increase the money available to decarbonise our bus fleets and end the competitive funding process so all local areas can benefit from electric buses.”



    With 30% of progress towards net zero is within the scope of influence of local authorities, according to 6th UK Carbon Budget, Climate Emergency UK assessed all UK councils on their climate action, publishing the Council Climate Action Scorecards in October 2023.








    Contact or Annie at Climate Emergency UK on 07934486877 for more information



    Infographic and images available at:





    Notes for Editors






        • Bus fleet has been defined as the number of buses stored within the depots that can be found within the Mayoral Authorities area. Zero emission buses have been defined as a fully electric or fully hydrogen bus, no other low-emission standard was accepted.








      The data in full can be seen here:



      Mayoral Authority% of bus fleet that is zero emissionTotal number of buses in bus fleet (figures taken from FOI responses)Total number of zero emission buses(figures taken from FOI responses)Electric or hydrogenZero emission target date (evidence for each combined authority found here)
      Greater London Authority14.44%1300 (rounded figures given)9000 (rounded figures given)Exact breakdown not given but 2023 stats show only 20 hydrogen buses
      Cambridgeshire & Peterborough12.65%34043All electric2030
      West Midlands11.5%1600184159 are battery electric buses, 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses, and 5 buses repowered from diesel to battery electric.2030
      Greater Manchester Combined Authority (TFGM)8.13%1660135All electric buses2032
      West Yorkshire6.84%114078All vehicles included in this percentage are electric2036
      West of England1.9% or 4.48%*66930All electric2030
      North East Mayoral (new, covers North East and North of Tyne combined authority)1.57%1,15018All electric2035
      South Yorkshire0%N/A002040
      Tees Valley0%33300none
      Liverpool City RegionN/AN/AN/AN/A2035



      *data provided in the FOI is unclear which figure it is.




          • East Midlands Combined Authority and York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority are the two new Combined Authorities we don’t have data for. We have data for the new/merged North East Combined Authority, as it is a merger of North East and North of Tyne combined authority.



          • Across 9 English Mayoral Authorities in existence (not including London and the newly created York and North Yorkshire and East Midlands County Combined Authority), just 7% of buses in use are zero emission, despite every authority, except Tees Valley, having a target for a zero emission bus fleet by 2040 or sooner. – This is calculated by adding up the total number of buses in the region and dividing it by the total number of zero emission buses (found in the table) and times that by 100.






        Background information




            • Climate Emergency UK is a not-for-profit community interest company which has been working with councils and residents since 2019 to share best practice about what councils can do to tackle the climate and ecological emergency and to encourage effective action.



            • Last year, Climate Emergency UK published the Council Climate Action Scorecards in October 2023 which was an assessment of councils’ action plans they’ve taken towards net zero. This is the first time an assessment of all UK council climate action across all sectors has been completed.