AN ENVIRONMENTAL bus company has been awarded money to almost double its existing fleet of electric vehicles.

The Big Lemon company in Whitehawk, Brighton, has been serving the community with an eco-friendly bus service since 2007.

It is one of the winners of the latest round of Ultra-Low Emission Bus funding which will provide £48 million of support for 263 ultra-low emission vehicles across the UK.

Tom Druitt, founder and chief executive of The Big Lemon, said: “We are delighted that The Big Lemon’s plans for a zero-emission bus network for Brighton and Hove has been recognised for its potential to improve air quality in the city.

“And we look forward to working with the Department for Transport to make it happen.

“Our vision is that by 2030 every community in the UK has zero-emissions bus services running on renewable energy and with six routes in Brighton and Hove soon to be powered by solar energy generated on the roof of our bus depot.”

The new buses will enable The Big Lemon’s network to be run entirely by electric vehicles.

The Big Lemon said that according to the 2018 UK average electricity grid mix, electric buses can save up to 72 per cent of the CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions compared with a standard Euro V diesel buses.

Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas said: “I’ve been battling with [Environment Secretary] Michael Gove for almost a year over Brighton’s filthy air, so it’s great news that we’ll finally be getting some ultra low emission buses for our city.

“These new vehicles will make a difference to people’s health – but I’ll keep pushing for the Government to retrofit the older diesel buses still polluting our streets.”

Department for Transport under-secretary of state Nusrat Ghani, MP for Wealden, announced the lucky companies to receive funding at the UK Bus Summit in London last week.

The investment will come from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (Olev), £14.2 million of which will go towards infrastructure including new charge points.

Olev invited local authorities to apply for funding through the 2018 ultra-low emission bus scheme competition. In total, 19 authorities and companies won the funding for ultra-low emission buses, including Brighton and Hove.

Transport For London won most funding, with 63 buses and nearly £7 million.