Transport Minister George Freeman praised a Brighton bus company for its electric fleet and solar-powered depot during an official visit.
Mr Freeman, the Conservative government’s Minister of State for Transport Technology and Innovation, was shown around the Big Lemon base in east Brighton last week and took a trip on one of the firm’s buses.
The Big Lemon said that the minister showed a genuine interest in low-carbon solutions to the transport and health challenges faced by communities across the country today.
Mr Freeman, said: “The Big Lemon’s innovative approach to the traditional bus market is inspiring.
“From a solar-powered depot – funded on a shoestring by community activists in Brighton – to their electric fleet, sustainability and community is at the heart of everything they do.
“From Brighton to Blackpool and Blyth, the bus sector needs innovative new entrants like this. That’s why we are supporting innovation in the bus sector through a £220 million funding boost for bus services across the country to drive growth across this vital sector.”
The Big Lemon’s founder and chief executive Tom Druitt said: “It was a real pleasure to show George around our buses and depot and introduce him to our team.
“It was a great boost for the team to see a government minister visit us and show such an interest in what we’re doing.
“And the highlight for me was discussing with George how the government can create the right environment for innovative community-based and low-carbon transport projects to thrive.”
Mr Freeman is expected to use visits like his meeting with the Big Lemon to look at how the lessons of its success can be replicated to run low-carbon bus services elsewhere.