Levelling Up Fund: Electric buses for North East

Bus passengers in the North East will soon benefit from a new fleet of electric buses after the North East Combined Authority was successful in a bid for funding from the government’s Levelling Up fund. 

A £20m grant will fund the purchase of 52 electric buses for the area aiming to improve air quality and reduce congestion whilst providing over 3,000 public transport seats to residents.

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The new buses will be supported by 26 new rapid chargers and 92 EV chargers across the region, which includes Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland. A government announcement said the move will ‘improve air quality, reduce congestion and support businesses in the region.’ 

The government’s Levelling Up fund is part of a push to support regeneration, cultural and transport projects across the country through various rounds of funding that have so far covered over 200 successful bids. 

Other successful bids in the North East area include £20m towards Gateshead Councils regeneration of Gateshead Quays and The Sage, including a new arena and exhibition centre, and a £15m grant towards new cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in Northumberland. 

Tees Valley will also benefit from funding towards new cycling and walking routes whilst an investment into the Newham Grange highway scheme will include new active travel paths alongside supporting 800 homes in Middlesborough. 

The North East received the third most amount of ‘levelling up’ funding per population with around £41 per person across all projects despite criticism from some that the scheme was too focussed on southern England. Labour also labelled the fund as a ‘hunger games style contest.’ 

On the announcement of the successful round two projects, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘This new funding will create jobs, drive economic growth, and help to restore local pride. We are delivering on the people’s priorities, levelling up across the UK to ensure that no matter where you are from, you can go as far as your talents will take you.’ 

Levelling Up funding has benefited a select number of tech-focussed projects across the country including a new enviro-tech start up centre in Oldham, Greater Manchester and a hi-tech education facility in Blaenau Gwent, Wales.

Photo by Michael Marais


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