Our town is being ruined by £82m EVs paid for by council – they're not fit for purpose & money should be spent elsewhere | The Sun

RESIDENTS of a major city say it is being ruined by the council's £82 million EV scheme, claiming that the money would be better spent elsewhere.

Locals of Oxford, Oxfordshire, have shared their concerns about an expensive overhaul to the area's bus fleet.

Oxfordshire County Council are set to introduce 159 new electric buses, made in Northern Ireland, to their roads.

These will be supported by 104 charging hubs and aim to replace the existing half-electric fleet.

All in all the total bill for the project is clocking in at £82.5 million, with the majority put up by the private bus companies who will profit from it.

The rest, though, is coming in the form of national and local government funding.



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Speaking to The Sun Online, many residents welcomed the cleaner air that the scheme will bring, but had concerns about its development.

Mum of four Jenna Constable, 39, said: "We all like cleaner air and greener things but right now everyone is struggling with money. 

"They shouldn’t be spending money on buses when there is so much more that needs doing. 

"They spend all that on buses when there’s nothing for kids to do.

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And fellow local Naomi McCollin claimed that they may not bring all the benefits that are proposed.

She added: "The buses we have are already half-electric and they are not bad at all. I use them to get to work. 

"I am not convinced it is as good for the planet as we are being told and at this moment in time, I would like to see money spent on the community.  

"The buses make enough money anyway. If they want them to be private then let the companies pay and let the council look after the people."

However, not everyone is opposed to the plans.

Pensioner Nick, 82, said that the project was "an investment in our future", while shop worker Tracey Fowler felt it made sense to electrify buses amid the ongoing push for electric car ownership.

Retired hod carrier Ferrol Steele, 63, agreed, saying: "We should be spending our money on the move to electric and embracing that.

"The buses are good around here and if they are electric that is even better. It sounds like a good idea."

For their part, Oxfordshire County Council said that they would only be putting £6 million into the total funding pot, with the rest coming from the bus companies and the national government.

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Management, called the scheme a "huge boost" to sustainability in the local transport system.

He said: "We believe that, along with other schemes proposed in the county, this new fleet of electric buses will transform our public transport system and encourage more people to travel by bus."

And the Government's Roads Minister Richard Holden added: "We want to see a better bus network around Britain and that means reliable, affordable, clean buses, and we will do everything possible to decarbonise our transport network and support skilled jobs in next generation bus manufacturing across the UK.

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"We’ve already invested hundreds of millions of pounds to kick-start the rollout of zero-emission buses nationwide, and it’s great to see Oxfordshire County Council, Stagecoach and Go-Ahead Group making use of our funding to transform its fleet to electric.

"This move will boost UK manufacturing, drive down emissions and improve bus services for people across the region."

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