New research uncovered by Climate Emergency UK found that under 5% of buses in the West of England are electric, despite the Combined Authority having a net zero bus fleet target date of 2030. 

To reach its target, the Combined Authority would need to more than double its rate of bus decarbonisation each year up until 2030. 

Clean buses are an integral part of improving public transport, thereby cutting emissions and improving air quality.

Climate Emergency UK (CE UK) used information in the Council Climate Action Scorecards and Freedom of Information Requests sent in February 2024 to uncover data for the West of England, and compared this against the authorities' targets. They found that the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) currently has only 30 out of their total bus fleet of 669 as electric. WECA is falling behind other regions such as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough where 12.65% of all buses have zero emissions. WECA is one of three combined authorities that has set a zero-emission bus fleet date of 2030, along with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the West Midlands. 

Last month the Department of Transport awarded the West of England Combined Authority £6.6 million for zero-emission buses, equating to 74 electric buses (67 double-deckers, and seven single-deckers). This covers about 20% of their current fleet, so they would need to decarbonise at the same rate, each year, up to 2030 to reach their target. 

Annie Pickering, Operations Director at Climate Emergency UK, said, “With less than 6 years left until 2030, the next Mayor of WECA needs to speed up and sustain 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.” 

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 to 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."