NEWPORT is set to become the first city in Wales to run fully electric zero emissions buses.

By April 2020, 15 electric single-decker buses will be in operation, making up 15 per cent of the Newport Bus fleet.

The first zero emission Yutong E12 bus in Newport Transport colours is due to arrive next month, with another seven arriving in February 2020.

The news comes shortly after it was announced that the M4 relief road project - aimed at reducing congestion along the stretch of motorway around the city - has been scrapped.

Taxpayers had contributed £114million to the project since 2013 before it was scrapped - including £44million on a public inquiry that found in favour of the relief road.

The two main reasons given by First Minister Mark Drakeford for rejecting the relief road were the damage it would cause to the environment and the costs involved - estimated at more than £1.4billion.

After the decision was announced, Newport council revealed they would have access to a £1billion borrowing facility to improve transport infrastructure around the city.

Speaking about the new electric buses, councillor Debbie Wilcox, leader of Newport City Council, said: “This is excellent news especially as Newport Transport will be at the forefront of a revolution in public transport in Wales. Clean, efficient, zero-emission electric buses will significantly improve air quality across the city for the benefit of all those who live and work in Newport.”

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(Debbie Wilcox)

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The Yutong E12 can seat up to 39 passengers and has an operating range of up to 200 miles (330km) according to the manufacturer. The buses have no engine vibration or noise, and feature separate air-conditioning for the driver and the passengers, as well as LED lighting and separate USB charging points.

Councillor Jane Mudd, chair of Newport Transport, said: “This is an exciting and ground-breaking development for public transport in the city. I’m proud that the company is leading the way in partnership with Yutong, Pelican Engineering and Zenobe Energy to guarantee that the buses meet the highest possible environmentally beneficial criteria.”

As Newport Transport already utilises 214 solar panels, a significant proportion of the energy used to charge the buses will be from a renewable source.

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(Scott Pearson - Newport Transport)

Scott Pearson Managing Director of Newport Transport said: “This is the start of a very exciting journey for the company as it moves into providing the people of Newport with an environmentally clean option for travel in and around the City. We recognise that in this ever-changing world, sustainable renewable energy is essential, and this must include public transport.

"This venture will mean that Newport will be the first area in Wales to operate zero-emissions buses for our customers and the environment.”