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North Antrim MP Ian Paisley has called on the Government to bring forward the hydrogen bus strategy for the UK as Wrightbus in Ballymena announced redundancies today.

The DUP MP said, “It is very disappointing that Wrightbus have been forced to announce redundancies. Since the company was taken over the company has been growing the workforce steadily, but I share the company’s hope that their long-term vision can still be achieved.

There are obvious fears about the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the wider Northern Ireland economy and that such redundancies will escalate in the future. Specifically within bus manufacturing there is action the Government can take to assist. If they brought forward the much-needed hydrogen bus strategy for the UK it could be transformative for the wider transport sector.

Wrightbus have world-leading technology and pressing ahead with greater production of hydrogen powered buses could see some of the drop in air pollution witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic maintained. These are buses which could hit UK streets quickly, delivering real economic and environmental benefits.

This is obviously a very difficult time for many people, and the impact of financial assistance from the Government should not be underestimated. However, by taking action such as this in relation to hydrogen power the Government can assist the path to economic recovery and sow the seeds for much longer-term benefits.”