It’s been an interesting week in the halls of government for those in the automotive industry. Not quite content with announcing that the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars has been brought forward to 2035, officials have been quick to reveal several multi-million-pound projects to enhance the UK’s regional bus network.

Serving as a case study for the Department for Transport as it aims to ensure all buses are electric by 2025, towns across the country can bid for their chance to win a £50million grant. If successful, the town in question will be the first in the UK to operate a fully-electric fleet. An additional £70million will also be invested in creating high-frequency ‘Superbus’ networks, with a combination of frequent services, reduced fares and numerous bus lanes enabling public transport to serve as a realistic alternative to private car use. Where commercial bus operation is financially unviable, £20million is to be spent on the trial of demand-responsive transportation – a dial-a-ride style service ordered through an app.

It is, of course, no coincidence that this substantial cash investment has come so soon after Downing Street’s combustion car commitment. With the Department for Transport also announcing plans to reverse many of Dr Beeching’s highly controversial railway closures last week, the combined outlay in public transport signals the government’s intent towards creating a less car-dependent society.

Increased spending on PCVs will come as a welcome boost to many manufacturers who have dedicated time and money to developing commercial EV technology that offers consistent and reliable performance. London has enjoyed the fruits of the innovative partnership between manufacturers Alexander Dennis and BYD for several months, with Go-Ahead London’s fleet of Enviro200EV single-deckers and Enviro400EV double-deckers transporting thousands of the Capital’s near 6.5 million daily passengers.

While the increase in EV buses hitting the UK’s streets can only have a positive impact on our carbon emissions, a wide-scale upturn in demand for buses, coaches and minibuses across the country should (hopefully) be felt in the manufacturing sector, with parts and consumables a key factor in cultivating small and medium enterprises.

If successful, this latest scheme will deliver wide-ranging social, economic and environmental benefits for those building, operating and using buses throughout the UK. Only time can tell whether this initiative is enough to allow operators to profitably run services in areas with historically poor patronage. Let’s hope that the voice in Kevin Costner’s cornfield does indeed speak the truth – ‘If you build it, they will come’.