York is set for 44 electric powered buses from next year.

Bus operator First Bus has placed an order for the buses in a near-£20 million investment, largely funded by central government.

First Bus will spend £10.2m of its own money on the buses, with City of York Council spending £8.4m, using money it received from a Department of Transport scheme for zero emission buses.

Earlier this year, the council received the funding, for the project, which will be completed over the next two years.

York will receive 24 single deck GB Kite Electroliners and 20 Double Deck StreetDecks. This will more than double the number of electric buses in use in the York area, helping to improve air quality by reducing diesel exhaust emissions.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Transport at City of York Council, said: "We welcome the announcement of this order of 44 electric vehicle (EV) buses as part of the largest EV bus purchase outside of London.

“These buses represent a great step towards providing clean, zero emission public transport across the city. This is fundamental to achieving the city’s carbon reduction goals, and clean air policy This significant investment will encourage greater use of the bus network, providing safe, convenient and sustainable bus services to residents, commuters and visitors.”

The predicted CO2 savings from the new buses are almost 2,700 tonnes a year. This will add to the current annual reduction of 1,600 tonnes achieved by the zero-emission Park and Ride fleet to bring total carbon savings to 4,300 tonnes a year.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for the Environment at City of York Council, added: “Here in York, we have already gone to great lengths to promote sustainable travel and hold bold ambitions for reducing carbon and taking steps to tackle climate change. In partnership with First York, we already have introduced 21 double-decker electric buses on the Park and Ride fleet, and 12 original single deck vehicles, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2 in the city.

“This significant investment will go a long way in helping us reduce York’s carbon footprint and improve air quality across the city.”

Ian Humphreys, Managing Director of First York, said: “This multi-million pound order is further evidence of our commitment to net-zero carbon transport and sets us on a clear path to full electrification of our bus fleet in York.

“It builds on our shared ambition with City of York Council to significantly reduce carbon and other particulate emissions and create cleaner air in the city.

“The models we have selected will enhance the journey experience for customers and we look forward to the first vehicles operating on the network next year.”

The new EV buses will be fully built in Northern Ireland at the Wrightbus facility in Ballymena in a significant boost for the UK economy and the manufacturing sector.

Ben Werth, Chief Commercial Officer at Wrightbus, said: "We are delighted to once again be partnering with First Bus in the drive to zero-emission public transport. First Bus, like us, is consistently on the forefront of new and exciting technology and at the forefront of zero- and low-emission travel.

“All of the buses - the GB Kite Electroliner BEV and the StreetDeck Electroliner BEV, which is the world's most efficient double decker battery-electric bus - will be manufactured and assembled at our Ballymena factory, which means support for jobs in NI, and wider across the UK through our domestic supply chain.”

The order is part of the largest EV bus purchase outside of London and will see a total of 193 new zero-emission buses being rolled out by First Bus across England from March 2023.