£25m Wrightbus boost as government invests in zero-emission public transport
Ballymena-based Wrightbus has received a £25.3m boost with the government announcing today, Thursday 2 March, that it is to back the local company with an order of 117 zero-emission buses for England's public transport network.
People in Yorkshire, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampshire will enjoy greener, cleaner journeys as the buses are rolled out across the country, taking the government's vision of a net zero transport network one step closer to reality.
The new buses will be manufactured in Ballymena by Wrightbus and operated by FirstBus, 'supporting hundreds of new high-skilled jobs to help level up and grow the economy'
Roads Minister Richard Holden said:
“Buses are the most popular form of public transport, and these new British-built zero emission buses will support hundreds of high-quality manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland, grow our economy and help clean up the air in towns and cities across the country."
Today's announcement is the latest order that has seen the company continue to go from strength to strength since being rescued from collapse by Joe Bamford and the Bamford Bus Company.
Robert Best, director of engineering at Wrightbus, said:
"We are delighted to be working with First Bus to further demonstrate their commitment to offering zero-emission public transport in these areas.
"It has been a real team effort between Wrightbus and First Bus to deliver this exciting project, which will help passengers enjoy cleaner transport.
"We’re immensely proud of the reputation we have forged in the zero-emission transport sector and the important role we are playing in the UK’s ambitions for decarbonisation.
"Our double deck battery electric buses are 44% more efficient ’grid to wheel’, saving energy costs and carbon.
“All of the buses will be manufactured and assembled at our Ballymena factory, which means support for jobs in Northern Ireland, and wider across the UK through our domestic supply chain.”
Ian Paisley, MP for North Antrim, has welcomed today's announcement saying the 25 million pound order is a vote of confidence in product, workers and company.
"I am delighted that after months of continuous hard work and lobbying a major order has been announced for Wrightbus from the North of England," said Mr Paisley.
"This announcement is good news for the Ballymena economy. Wrightbus is employing nearly 1000 more people than it was at the end of 2019, and one of the reasons for this is that it makes the best buses on the market. I’m proud that councils in England are choosing Ballymena-made buses to improve air quality in their towns and cities, and would like to congratulate all members of the Wrightbus team on another major order.
"Once again the best workforce making the best product wins results. I wish to congratulate the company and its workers."
The news has also been welcomed by Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Alderman Noel Williams.
“This is excellent news for Mid and East Antrim and another ringing endorsement of the world-leading capabilities and innovation of Wrightbus.
“Our Borough has a proud reputation for excellence when it comes to advanced manufacturing and the development of cleantech energy.
“I commend the Government’s continued investment in this key sector, and Wrightbus for securing this key investment and for leading the way in the development of electric and hydrogen buses.
“Our Hydrogen Training Academy continues to equip residents with the skills and experience required to excel in this ever-increasing sector and we look forward to the establishment of our i4C Innovation and Cleantech Centre in Ballymena in the near future, as part of an £80m investment in Mid and East Antrim through the Belfast Region City Deal, which will further realise our ambitious economic growth plans.”
Wrightbus has been recruiting in recent months and will be hosting a recruitment open night at the Ballymena factory this evening.
Please visit the company's website to find out about the latest opportunities available.