§ Lord Laird
asked Her Majesty's Government:
In view of their policy as outlined by the Deputy Prime Minister in November 1999, of a target average bus fleet age of 8 years to be achieved by autumn of 2001, what is the average age of the Ulsterbus fleet in Northern Ireland; and if necessary, what steps will be taken to bring that fleet into line with policy. [HL2038]
§ Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton
The policy announced by the Deputy Prime Minister applies to the bus industry in Great Britain. Translink have informed us that the average age of the Ulsterbus fleet at April 2000 was 11.3 years. The Department for Regional Development has recently approved the purchase of new buses with the £1.7 million Bus Grant allocated for 2000–01 and 2001–02, subject to 50 per cent matching funding from the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company. Translink have advised that it is likely any bus purchase will be directed towards the Ulsterbus fleet. Consideration will be given to providing further bus purchase grants during the forthcoming Spending Review.