A few more Scottish buses may soon be belching out a little less carbon dioxide after the government announced it had set aside £2m to help Scottish bus operators to buy low-carbon vehicles for their fleets.
Transport Minister Keith Brown made the announced the funding as the latest round of the Scottish Green Bus Fund during his keynote address to the 2012 Transport Conference in Glasgow this week.
The Scottish Green Bus Fund operates as a Challenge Fund with grants offered to successful bidders for up to 100% of the price difference between a low-carbon vehicle and its diesel equivalent.
Last year's fund totalled £4.4m and enabled five operators – Lothian Buses, Stagecoach, First Glasgow, Stagecoach Bluebird and Colchri – to purchase 48 new low-carbon vehicles, with grants of between £66,000 and £131,000 per bus.
The government says it hopes that the next round of applications for the Scottish Green Bus Fund will continue to make bus services "greener, more efficient and easier to use".
On the face of it, the government's announcement will lead to perhaps another 20 low-carbon buses entering service in Scotland, which is not a lot. But let's not be churlish - it's better than nothing.
Bus operators, local authorities and regional transport partnerships will now be invited to apply to the Scottish Green Bus Fund for help with the up-front costs of buying new low-carbon buses for their fleets.