June 20 2024

SNP manifesto target to end sale of diesel-powered buses is bad news for a smooth transition to net-zero services across Scotland   

By proposing an end of sale date of 2025 for diesel powered buses, the SNP is disproportionately targeting SMEs and rural bus operators and the marginal, but socially necessary, services they provide, says CPT.

Responding to the SNP manifesto pledge, Paul White, Director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport Scotland says,  

Many larger bus operators have already committed to purchasing only zero emission or ultra-low emission vehicles, provided that the right fiscal support is delivered by government to help meet the higher purchase costs and the required supporting infrastructure.  

“The transition to zero-emission is not purely about cost. Practical concerns like the availability of charging infrastructure and vehicle range must be considered. These issues are most prevalent in rural areas." 

It is unclear how the SNP plans to deliver more frequent and better rural bus services if bus operators cannot source or operate vehicles that are suitable for rural routes.  

CPT believes the SNP proposal also puts UK bus manufacturing jobs at risk, creating uncertainty in the supply chain and potentially disadvantaging that domestic sector in comparison to its global competitors.  

“If the SNP wishes to accelerate the transition to a zero-emission bus fleet it should commit to further rounds of the Scottish Zero Emission Bue Scheme (ScotZEB), support investment in R&D to deliver vehicles with the power and range to provide services in challenging geography, and work with CPT and its operator and manufacturer members to map out a credible pathway that offers a realistic and just way forward for operators, manufacturers and  passengers”  



Notes for Editors  

CPT argues the transition to a zero-emission bus fleet is a huge opportunity for Britain to lead the world in creating a modern zero emission bus network that offers a growing number of passengers one of the most sustainable forms of transport. 

In a report published in February a taskforce of industry experts and stakeholders convened by CPT outlined how rural areas can become a driving force for the UK’s transition to a zero-emission bus fleet and called for local transport authorities to produce decarbonisation strategies and for long-term Government investment. 

CPT continues to engage with government, Local Transport Authorities, and other key stakeholders to ensure that all necessary measures are introduced to deliver the environmental, and social benefits of a bus network that is continuously improving and ensures rural bus services, and passengers, are not left behind.