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Nailsea Town Council has been in the driving seat to fund new electric vehicles for the community bus service.

There was an official handing over ceremony by Nailsea Town Council vice chairman James Tonkin of the two new electric minibuses to NDCT (Nailsea & District Community Transport) on Wednesday afternoon, June 26.

The brand-new vehicles looking resplendent in freshly painted livery and costing £177,060, were parked in the High Street designated community bus bay opposite Coates House.

Another bought by lottery funding is due to be delivered later this year.

NDCT operates in and around the areas of Nailsea, Clevedon, Portishead, Backwell, Pill, Felton, Long Ashton and all the interconnecting villages.

It provides low cost, door to door, fully accessible transport for people in later life, experiencing problems using public transport.

Issues such as disability, cognitive decline, sensory impairment, chronic illness and pain, make mainstream bus journeys difficult and stressful and community transport is there to remove those stressful barriers, with door to door, wheelchair accessible vehicles and friendly, supportive, trained volunteer (and some paid) drivers.

NDCT provides approximately 508 members with weekly shopping trips, days out, as well as essential trips to medical appointments (including Bristol hospitals), clubs and social and leisure venues.

Working in partnership with North Somerset Council, town and parish councils and other community groups, NDCT help people get out of their homes and into the community, making valuable connections to people and places and combatting social isolation.

The full social value of this support is but at £500,000. Last year, more than 13,000 journeys were carried out with a fleet of diesel minibuses.

The two new electric minibuses will help improve local air quality and noise pollution as well as cost savings to NDCT - a not-for-profit community benefit society, which is celebrating 30 years of service within the community, this year.

On top of buying the buses Nailsea Town Council also contributes more than £15,000 per annum towards the NDCT annual running cost which has charitable status.

The total funding for the electric buses bought by Nailsea Town Council came from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). 

This is a charge that local authorities can set on new development to raise funds to help fund infrastructure, facilities and services such as schools or transport improvements.

James said “This initiative marks a significant step forward in improving the mobility and connectivity of our community, whilst supporting our environmental objectives to reduce carbon omissions.

“But the new buses are not just about getting from one place to another, they are about bringing people together, fostering inclusivity, and ensuring that everyone, regardless of age or ability, has access to reliable and convenient greener transport.

“This project is a testament to what can be achieved when we work together with a shared vision of progress, environmental objectives and community support.

“I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has contributed to making these new electric buses a reality.

“Your hard work and dedication are very much appreciated and will have a lasting impact on our community.”

Nailsea Junior Football Club chairman Ben Watts said: “Finally great to see some of the section 106 money being spent on the Nailsea community after the sale of land from Engine Lane.

“I think everyone would acknowledge that Nailsea & District Community Transport is a great charity and a lifeline for many in Nailsea and surrounding villages.

“It’s also important that these two electric minibuses remain under the ownership of NTC.

“Now let’s get on and spend some more of the Engine Lane money…waited long enough and Nailsea is crying out for money to be spent on its community projects.”

It costs nearly a quarter of a million pounds every year to keep the buses running with a team of mostly volunteer drivers however North Somerset Council has already cut its £55k annual contribution by half and there are fears because of the unitary authority’s financial woes this may be lost completely.

  • Innovative ideas for fundraising are under discussion at the annual meeting at Failand village hall on Friday, June 28, when a 30th birthday cake will be shared with supporters.

  • A council spokesperson said: “North Somerset Council is currently reviewing live grant applications for transport projects involving Nailsea and District Community Transport, so it’s not appropriate for us to comment at this time.”


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