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MP launches eco-friendly buses

MINISTER for Transport, Norman Baker MP, has launched Nottingham's new Centrelink electric buses

The new buses make Nottingham City Council the largest owner of electric buses in the UK. Sponsored by E.ON, each zero emission* bus costs £208,000. They offer cleaner and greener travel and will help the City Council to achieve its sustainability target to reduce the city's carbon emissions of 2005 by 26% by 2020.

This announcement is further proof of Nottingham's already excellent reputation for clean and green transport. Last month, the Campaign for Better Transport voted Nottingham as one of the UK's least car dependant cities for a second successive year.

In 2008 Nottingham was the first city in the UK to trial ethanol fuelled buses on its Ecolink service. The Council will also soon be introducing electric and hybrid buses onto its Medilink service which links both hospitals.

The buses were part-funded with a grant of £760,320 from the Department of Transport's Green Bus Fund. The first four buses will replace the existing diesel buses, operated by Trent Barton, on the Centrelink service, which runs every 10 minutes between the Broadmarsh and Victoria Centre bus stations, via the Market Square.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "Nottingham's dedication to providing a sustainable and accessible public transport network has really impressed me. I have visited the city on a number of occasions and I am pleased to be back to launch the city's new green bus fleet.

"It is also good to see the new government funded cycle scheme up and running. The scheme uses the latest smartcard technology enabling commuters to travel easily and will help to cut carbon at the same time as making it easier to access to buses, trains and trams across the city, a win: win for commuters.

"The ongoing redevelopment of Nottingham railway station and the construction of two more tram lines are making good progress too, creating jobs for local people and enhancing the city for residents, businesses and investment."

Cllr Jane Urquhart, Nottingham City Council's Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation, said: "We're very proud of Nottingham's track record with investment in sustainable transport. The launch of new electric buses is why the city is recognised as one the UK's least car dependant cities.

"They will provide a better deal for Nottingham's passengers and encourage more people to travel by bus. Not only do they improve the city's bus services and infrastructure, but they also reduce congestion, make journeys quieter and reduce fuel costs and CO2  emissions, creating an even greener transport network."

Nottingham has recently benefited from £10m funding for sustainable transport projects in Nottingham from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The LSTF is helping to pay for a programme of measures benefiting jobseekers, young people and those on low incomes, helping to support the local economy, assisting local people to get good jobs and reducing carbon emissions from transport.

During his visit, Transport Minister Norman Baker also visited progress on NET (Nottingham Express Transit) Phase Two and the redevelopment of Nottingham's railway station The Hub and opened a brand new cycle initiative called the Citycard Cycle Scheme being launched by Nottingham City Council.

As well as contributing towards NET Phase Two, the Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) is part-funding The Hub and the bus network, including the electric Centrelink fleet.

The Citycard Cycle Scheme is one of a number of green transport schemes funded by the Department for Transport's Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) to improve the lives of millions of people in towns and cities up and down the country by cutting carbon and boosting economic growth.

The scheme comprises ten cycle 'hubs', providing a range of services from secure under cover cycle parking with CCTV monitoring to a cycle hire service, all accessed using the Nottingham Citycard.

Additional funding has been secured to further extend the cycle hubs to the four Nottingham train stations, plus two more located in Toton and Beeston, as part of Phase Two of the tram network.   

Cycle hire will be available from tourism outlets such as the Nottingham Tourism Centre in the Market Square. They will also be included within Nottingham's integrated 'Kangaroo' travel scheme to give unlimited bus, tram, train and cycle travel all day for just £4.

The final stage of the plan will see the introduction of an electronic cycle hire scheme activated by the Citycard. This will enable customers to turn up at a hire station, pick up a bike and drop it off at any other hire station in the city.

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About Charlie Kennedy

Having studied Law, English and Philosophy, I went travelling to India for 6 weeks working in orphanages and in a leper colony. I came home and decided to study Journalism. Starting my third and final year this September, I have just been given the fanta... read more