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Wrightbus hopes for hydrogen bus orders

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Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

PA

Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

A new £5bn (€5.9bn) package for UK bus services should help bring thousands of orders to Wrightbus in Ballymena for its hydrogen-fuelled buses, it's been claimed.

A five-year funding package announced by the UK's prime minister Boris Johnson will also allow for new priority bus routes and the purchase of at least 4,000 zero emission buses in England and Wales.

North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley said the package could bring a boost in orders for Wrightbus of between 2,000 and 3,000 - and that it would bring hydrogen-fuelled buses down to the cost of diesel ones.

In the House of Commons yesterday, he said he would put "more than 4,000 brand new buses on the roads - zero carbon British-built buses".

Wrightbus executive chairman Jo Bamford, who bought the Co Antrim company last year, has pledged to boost the company's prowess in making hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.

Around 1,200 people lost their jobs when the company went into administration last September.

The plant now operates with a workforce of 400.

In an interview with the 'Belfast Telegraph' last month, Mr Bamford said the company is working on providing 20 hydrogen-fuelled buses in London and 15 in Aberdeen, while Birmingham is also expected to sign up.

Mr Bamford yesterday welcomed Mr Johnson's announcement and said it could help the UK lead the way in zero emissions technology.

"Wrightbus is committed to delivering the next generation of zero emission buses for the UK and for markets around the world," he said.

Irish Independent