New UK Infrastructure Bank investment supports green bus route to boost connection and jobs in West Midlands

New UK Infrastructure Bank investment supports green bus route to boost connection and jobs in West Midlands

The UK Infrastructure Bank has today confirmed it will partner with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to invest £10 million in phase 1 of the new Sprint Bus Route in Birmingham along the heavily congested A45 corridor.

The project will increase connectivity between residential and employment areas, speed up journey times and reduce carbon emissions, supporting the WMCA to create a zero-emissions corridor by 2030.

£10 million is being provided through a loan to the WMCA as part of the UK Infrastructure Bank’s local lending function, in line with its objectives to boost regional growth and support the UK’s ambitions on net-zero.

The WMCA Sprint project, once completed, is projected to unlock nearly 4000 jobs due to the increased frequency and speed of connections between the economic hubs of Birmingham City Centre, Solihull and Birmingham Airport. Journey times along the route will be significantly faster and more reliable, with peak services running at least every 10 minutes.

The project will also help reduce CO2 emissions by decreasing route congestion and bringing online new hydrogen buses. Greener transport is a key part of the government’s Net Zero Strategy, and bus network expansion across the UK is a priority set out in its Levelling Up White Paper. CEO of the UK Infrastructure Bank, John Flint said:

“This project not only delivers in working towards achieving our net zero target but is important to the economic growth in the region. Zero Emission Buses are crucial to decarbonise the transport sector and provide efficient, reliable services for all.

“This is our first deal with the West Midlands Combined Authority, and we are looking forward to working with the team again in the future. I encourage other local and regional bodies to get in touch with us on similar projects where financing is required.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said:

“Our Sprint project represents a major investment in our public transport network to enable us to improve both reliability and journey times for passengers, bypassing traffic jams on some of Birmingham’s key routes.

“The support of the UK Infrastructure Bank for this initiative is a real vote of confidence in the West Midlands and we look forward to working with them on future projects.”

The UK Infrastructure Bank was launched in June 2021 to finance innovative infrastructure projects, tackle climate change and boost growth across the United Kingdom. It works with local authorities across the country to provide flexible loans at a fixed rate of interest to support regional infrastructure development. The Bank also partners with the private sector to invest in infrastructure projects that meet its investment principles.

The Bank is engaging with all of the Combined Authorities, the Devolved Administrations and a large number of local bodies across the United Kingdom. It expects to make investments across the country, generating a positive financial return in line with its investment principles.

Further information

UK Infrastructure Bank

  • The UK Infrastructure Bank was announced as part of the government’s National Infrastructure Strategy in 2020 and launched in June 2021. Its objectives are to help tackle climate change and to support regional and local economic growth. A core part of the Bank’s role is to lend to local and mayoral authorities for strategic and high value projects. More detail is available in the UK Infrastructure Bank Policy Design Document and the Bank’s Framework Document both of which are on our website.
  • The Bank is operationally independent from government - projects are assessed by the Bank and approved through an Investment Committee.
  • The Bank assessed the impact of this investment in line with its independent processes and c4,000 jobs are attributable the WMCA Sprint project as a whole, which is facilitated by this investment. The combination of reduced journey times and new Zero Emission Buses is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,530 tCO2e (tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions) in 2026, rising to 7,226 tCO2e by 2030 per annum as the route becomes served entirely by zero emission buses. That is the equivalent of taking around 4000 cars per year off the road.
  • The UK Infrastructure Bank is facilitating the loan to the West Midlands Combined Authority, using the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB). Once a proposal has been assessed and approved by the Bank, it makes a recommendation to the PWLB to provide a loan to the local authority. The Bank will then take responsibility for the administration of this loan. When the Bank is placed on a statutory footing it will receive the legal powers to lend direct to local authorities.
  • The project will make a financial return for the Bank, in line with its investment principles.

About the West Midlands Combined Authority

  • The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) was set up in 2016. Led by the Mayor of the West Midlands, the WMCA brings together 18 local councils and three Local Enterprise Partnerships to oversee the transfer of powers and funding from Whitehall to the West Midlands.
  • You can find out more about their objectives and how the Authority works on their website:

Sprint Bus Route