The Big Lemon handed cash towards five new electric buses in Brighton and Hove

Tom Druitt driving one of The Big Lemon's electric buses
Tom Druitt driving one of The Big Lemon's electric buses

A Brighton bus company has been handed £500,000 to help grow its electric fleet from seven to 12.

The Big Lemon successfully bid for a share in a £48m pot for low emission buses in the UK.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced the news today (February 6).

Tom Druitt, founder of The Big Lemon said: “We are delighted that The Big Lemon’s plans for a zero-emission bus network for Brighton and Hove has been recognised for its potential to improve air quality in the city and we look forward to working with the Department for Transport to make it happen.

“Our vision is that by 2030 every community in the UK has zero-emissions bus services run on renewable energy, and with six routes in Brighton and Hove soon to be powered by solar energy generated on the roof of our bus depot this is an important step to realising that vision.”

Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “I’ve been battling with Michael Gove for almost a year over Brighton’s filthy air, so it’s great news that we’ll finally be getting some ultra low emission buses for our city.

"These new vehicles will make a difference to people’s health - but I’ll keep pushing for the Government to retrofit the older diesel buses still polluting our streets.”

The Big Lemon will receive £560,000 for five electric buses, but will need to raise a further £1m to fully fund the new fleet. Mr Druitt said a funding drive will be announced in the coming weeks.

Brighton and Hove Buses also received a share of the DfT pot, taking £4.4m for 20 hydrogen buses for its Metrobus fleet in Crawley.

Buses Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “This government is doing more than ever before to reduce emissions across all modes of transport and I’m delighted to see the bus industry putting itself at the forefront of this.