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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary hails green innovation at Wrightbus

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Hilary Benn, Jean-Marc Gales and Ian Paisley, MP for North Antrim.

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Hilary Benn, Jean-Marc Gales and Ian Paisley, MP for North Antrim.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Hilary Benn MP, has visited zero-emission pioneer Wrightbus in Ballymena to hear about the company’s plans for the future.

Mr Benn met with Wrightbus CEO Jean-Marc Gales and other members of the Wrightbus team to discuss the company’s plans for 2024 and beyond.

As well as seeing the factory which produces Wrightbus’s groundbreaking technology, including the world’s first hydrogen double deck bus, Mr Benn spoke to the Wrightbus team about business opportunities in the UK, Europe and further afield.

Mr Benn said:

"It was a great pleasure to visit Wrightbus and see the groundbreaking, world-leading technology it is deploying in building the public transport of the future.

“I was very impressed by my tour of the factory, where I saw all the stages of the production of electric and hydrogen buses. 

“I was also delighted to hear about the continued expansion of the business and the quality, skilled jobs that are being created in Ballymena.”

Jean-Marc Gales with Hilary Benn.

Jean-Marc Gales with Hilary Benn.

Mr Gales commented:

“We were delighted to welcome Mr Benn to Ballymena and have the opportunity to speak to him about our vision and plans for Wrightbus and what this means for Northern Ireland and the wider United Kingdom.

“Wrightbus has a clear plan in place to increase the ease and affordability of zero-emission buses. We are the only manufacturer in Europe to offer a complete suite of zero emission buses, with both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell single and double decks. These have a vital role to play in decarbonising public transport and in enabling operators, local authorities and governments to meet their carbon reduction targets.

“As we continue to grow, we remain committed to creating green, skilled, UK jobs. The last few years has seen the Wrightbus workforce increase from just 50 in 2019 to over 1,500 today, with the ambition to significantly increase our workforce further over the next three years.”

2023 was another excellent year for Wrightbus with major orders including 80 new London buses for Abellio, 34 for Arriva and an initial 20 hydrogen buses for the Go Ahead Group to services routes to and around Gatwick Airport.

The company’s order book continues to thrive as it grows partnerships with Abellio, Arriva, StageCoach, The Go-Ahead Group, the NTA in Ireland and many more operators across the world. 

Mr Gales concluded:

“This success is the foundation stone for how I believe the business will continue to grow in the coming months and years, and we were incredibly pleased to be able to speak to Mr Benn and his team about this.”


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