The Mayor of London’s Energy Efficiency Fund (MEEF), managed by Amber Infrastructure, is helping to finance the rollout of zero-emission buses in the UK.

MEEF has provided debt and equity to Rock Road, a subsidiary of rolling stock company Rock Rail, for the rollout of 30 Wrightbus Electroliners to be operated in London by Abellio. Senior debt was provided by NatWest.

The vehicles are fully zero-emission and will replace old diesel buses, which is expected to save about 1,750 tonnes of CO₂ emissions each year.

Mark Swindell, Rock Rail & Road CEO, said: “Back at COP26, Rock made the decision to widen its scope into a new sector to accelerate the decarbonisation of public transport and to further support the UK to reach its net-zero targets.

“We set out to provide operators with a new type of funding for zero-emission buses that reduces the impact on balance sheet, allows operators to retain full control over their fleet and absorbs two key risks – namely, residual value and battery replacement.”

Joanne Patrick, head of sustainable energy at Amber Infrastructure, said: “We are delighted to work together with Rock Road to support this innovative approach to financing zero-emission buses in London.

“We hope that this project will act as a catalyst to support Rock and London bus operators to decarbonise their fleets and improve air quality throughout the capital”.

Jacob Lloyd, head of structured asset finance at NatWest, said: “It’s great to support a new business entering the green-transport space through our customers Rock Road and Amber Infrastructure.

“NatWest is committed to lending £100bn in climate and sustainable funding and financing by the end of 2025, with transport transition being an essential area for accelerated reduction in CO2 emissions. Supporting this transaction has helped us all take another step towards that reduction goal.”

Shirley Rodrigues, London deputy mayor for environment and energy, said: “Electrifying London’s bus fleet is an important step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling the devastating effects of toxic air pollution on public health.

“Our ambitious target for London to reach net zero by 2030 requires investment to rapidly decarbonise our homes, offices, energy systems and transport.

“This investment from MEEF shows the vital role public-sector funds can play in unlocking the private-sector investment needed to accelerate our net-zero efforts and help Londoners breathe cleaner air as we build a greener and better London for everyone.”