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Cities and NGOs urge EU to ban polluting buses by 2027

Several cities and non-profit organisations have come together to demand the European Union (EU) ensure only zero-emission buses are sold by 2027.

11 cities, including Paris, Hamburg, Barcelona and Milan, and civil society groups have written to EU lawmakers to urge them to bring in the 2027 deadline.

They say its crucial public transport is put at the centre of the EU’s path to meet net-zero and a steady supply of green vehicles is needed to support demand from cities and towns.

‘Without action at EU level, demand for zero emission urban buses will not be matched by supply,’ the letter reads. ‘This would jeopardise the commitments of leading cities and expose EU citizens to air pollution for longer. Constrained by a lack of availability, or prices that are too high due to insufficient zero emission bus supply, cities will be forced to keep buying combustion engine buses.’

white and brown bus

European bus fleets emit around 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, according to the United Nations, while zero-emission vehicles account for just 23% of new urban buses in the EU in 2021. This is an increase from 2020 when the figure was only 16%.

The supply of these vehicles will soon need to be significantly enhanced to meet demand, as 20 major European cities, such as Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid and Rome, have pledged to only buy zero-emission buses from 2025.

This is in addition to the numerous cities which already only buy green buses, including London, all Dutch cities and Denmark’s six largest cities. Some traditional bus manufacturers, like MAN, have also pledged to produce only zero-emission buses by 2030.

James Nix, freight manager at Transport & Environment, which also signed the letter, said: ‘Cities want electric buses to protect the health of their citizens. But often they are just not available at the scale needed or at affordable prices. The EU urgently needs to step in and set a clear target by when all new urban buses must be zero emissions. That will support manufacturers to invest with confidence in production, thereby making clean buses widely available and cheaper.’

Photo by Hobi industri

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