On 29 December 2017 the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOŚiGW) signed a contract with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW) to finance the purchase of new generation buses for Polish cities participating in the Zero-Emission Public Transport programme.
Innovation market beneficial for citizens
- Electromobility and improvement of air quality is a strategic issue for the government. We consistently create and support solutions aimed at improving the quality of lives of the Polish people, as is perhaps best proven by the zero-emission public transport programme. It is also an example of how the state, using the available financial and legal means, can create a market for innovation for the benefit of its citizens – emphasises Jarosław Gowin, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Science and Higher Education.
Innovative administration, benefits for cities and citizens
The programme of NCBR, an executive agency of MNiSW, is implemented in the innovative formula of innovative partnership. This is the mode in the Public Procurement Act, whereby the state acts as an intelligent contracting authority, thus creating a new market for innovative products - in this case based on the needs reported by Polish cities interested in the development of ecological urban transport. An innovative approach will enable to create, purchase and supply a fleet of dozens of Polish cities with even over 1,000 new generation buses. The innovative solutions applied will allow to offer citizens a completely new quality of travel by public transport, while reducing air pollution and operating costs.
- Clean air will be a real measure of our development. The fight against smog is a sine qua non for the civilisation progress of Poland - says Deputy Minister of Development Jadwiga Emilewicz. - That is why I am pleased that today we can announce an agreement on concrete, planned solutions for urban transport, which are being worked on jointly by NCBR, NFOŚiGW and local governments. I am convinced that by implementing the government strategy of fighting for clean air, they will allow residents of several dozen Polish cities to use the most modern, environment-friendly buses - Jadwiga Emilewicz explains.
Specific goals and even 100% funding
The contract concluded today in Warsaw between NCBR and NFOŚiGW concerns co-operation in providing co-financing for the purchase of zero-emission buses by the cities participating in the programme. They will be able to apply for up to 100 percent financing of the purchase of vehicles.
PLN 2.2 billion for this purpose will come from the resources of the Low-Carbon Transport Fund and NFOŚiGW, which will launch Gepard II Priority Program. Co-operation of government agencies, funds dedicated to supporting innovative solutions in the field of zero-emission public transport and direct involvement of local governments will allow to achieve first results already in 2020.
- On the basis of the government Strategy for Responsible Development, we set ambitious but very specific goals in the Zero-emission public transport programme. Together with local governments, we focus on solutions that are innovative, yet safe at the time of introducing buses to the cities - emphasises NCBR Director Prof. Maciej Chorowski.
- In 2019-2023, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management will provide support totalling over PLN 2 billion for the purchase of about 1,000 innovative zero-emission buses under the Zero-Emission Public Transport programme run by NCBR. The co-financing provided within its framework will enable the beneficiaries to modernise their collective transport fleet, which will correspond to the environmental policy requirements set by the Polish government and contribute to reducing emissions, i.e. reducing air pollution. Apart from environmental benefits, the development of electromobility and support for zero-emission transport is undoubtedly also an opportunity to increase the innovation level of the Polish economy – says NFOŚiGW President Kazimierz Kujda.
Polish cities focus on modern and environment-friendly transport
NCBR already co-operates with 26 local governments from across Poland under the Zero-Emission Public Transport programme. Bydgoszcz, Częstochowa, Gdynia, Jaworzno, Kraków, Krosno, Lublin, Łomża, Mielec, Nowy Sącz, Płock, Rzeszów, Siedlce, Sieradz, Sosnowiec, Starachowice, Szczecin, Tczew, Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Toruń, Tychy, Warsaw, Wejherowo, Wrocław, Zakliczyn and Żyrardów as well as municipalities associated under the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia (G-ZM) all support innovative and residents-friendly solutions in public transport. G-ZM is a leader of this group and during today's ceremony at MNiSW it signed an agreement with NCBR that will increase the commitment to the programme- by 2023, G-ZM can purchase up to 300 emission-free buses.
- As the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia, we take a broader understanding of the zero-emission public transport project. It is not just a replacement of our current bus fleet for a greener one and one of the ways to fight smog. It is also an opportunity to take a step further – establish an entity that will implement a holistic approach to urban mobility in G-ZM. The transport needs of residents change and we have to follow suit. In our opinion, the future of urban mobility will be based on electric, autonomous and shared vehicles. Our role is, however, to provide residents with a range of public transport options that will be tailored to the needs of the moment and citizens’ personal preferences. Bearing in mind that innovation is not only about technological solutions, but also about new business models and organisational solutions, we want G-ZM to become a reference centre in this area. Today we are taking the first step towards it - says Kazimierz Karolczak, chairman of the G-ZM Management Board.
The NCBR-G-ZM agreement perfectly fits in the Programme for Silesia. Announced last week by PM Morawiecki, its aim is to both strengthen the existing opportunities in the region and use development potentials. The key ones indicated in the Programme are: energy, entrepreneurship, environment, human capital, innovation as well as improvement of developmental conditions of cities.