Camelon bus builder Alexander Dennis Limited has won orders for 172 buses thanks to a Scottish Government scheme aimed at reducing transport emissions and driving a green recovery.

A total of £40.5million has been awarded through the second round of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS) to help operators replace 215 old diesel buses with new battery-electric models. The investment will also support skilled, green manufacturing jobs in Falkirk, with Alexander Dennis building 172 of the zero-emission buses in the town.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said: “The Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme helps operators to invest in a greener fleet as we respond to the global climate emergency, while also supporting economic growth as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Alexander Dennis is a world leader in building the zero-emission buses we need to decarbonise our bus fleet. The huge number of orders the company has received thanks to the Scottish Government’s biggest investment yet in this scheme – which has been matched by private investment from bus operators and the finance sector – is terrific news for its skilled workforce in Falkirk, our local economy and the wider supply chain.

“More people use buses than any other type of public transport and a vibrant bus industry is key to achieving our sustainable travel ambitions. SULEBS is just one part of a wider support package for the industry, which also includes long-term funding of more than £500million for bus priority infrastructure and support of up to £191.3million to help maintain essential bus services during the pandemic.”

Paul Davies, Alexander Dennis president and managing director, said: “The Scottish Government deserves huge credit for leading by example to support bus operators’ commitment to invest in cleaner, greener buses and we are delighted that bids for 172 of our electric buses have been successful.

“These zero-emission buses will be built at our factory in Falkirk and therefore ensure this Scottish Government investment is made domestically, allowing the benefits to be felt across our communities whilst helping to underpin skilled jobs.

“We very much look forward to working with the successful operators to finalise terms and get these vehicles into service at pace.”

Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary for the Scottish Trades Union Congress, said: “I am delighted to see that all of the ADL buses will be manufactured in Falkirk. This is positive news for the workers, who through their union have been working hard to achieve this.

“There is no doubt that we need to build on our existing domestic manufacture if we are to ensure that Scotland can be at the forefront of a net-zero industrial revolution. This announcement is an example of the kind of interventions we need if we are to embark on a real green recovery.”

The first round of SULEBS awards last September saw successful bids for 35 ultra-low emission buses built by Alexander Dennis in Falkirk.

The scheme is an evolution of the Scottish Green Bus Fund, introduced by the SNP government in 2011, which has supported hundreds of orders for Alexander Dennis buses over the years.