05 January 2023

The Mayor of London’s Energy Efficiency Fund (‘MEEF‘), managed by Amber Fund Management Limited (‘Amber Infrastructure’), has provided a debt and equity funding solution to Rock Road, a subsidiary of Rock Rail (together ‘Rock’), for the financing of 30 Wrightbus Electroliners to be operated out of Twickenham depot on Route 111 by Abellio. The state-of-the-art vehicles are fully zero-emission and will replace old diesel buses, in turn, saving c.1,750 tonnes of CO2 from polluting the environment each year.

This project represents the first financing of zero-emission buses in the UK by a consortium led by Rock Road Holdings Ltd and MEEF. MEEF’s funding package included senior debt provided by NatWest.

Rock Road’s disruptive approach offers a “light-touch” financing that allows operators to run their daily service with minimal interruption, as well as taking residual value and battery replacement risk. 

Mark Swindell, Rock Rail & Road CEO, commented: “Back at COP26, Rock made the decision to widen its scope into a new sector to accelerate the decarbonisation of public transport and to further support the UK to reach its Net Zero targets. We set out to provide operators with a new type of funding for zero-emission buses that reduces the impact on balance sheet, allows operators to retain full control over their fleet and absorbs two key risks, namely: residual value and battery replacement.”

Joanne Patrick, Head of Sustainable Energy at Amber Infrastructure, commented: “We are delighted to work together with Rock Road to support this innovative approach to financing zero-emission buses in London. We hope that this project will act as a catalyst to support Rock and London bus operators to decarbonise their fleets and improve air quality throughout the Capital”.

Jacob Lloyd, Head of Structured Asset Finance, NatWest said: “It's great to support a new business entering the green transport space through our customers Rock Road and Amber Infrastructure. NatWest is committed to lending £100bn in climate and sustainable funding and financing by the end of 2025, with transport transition being an essential area for accelerated reduction in CO2 emissions. Supporting this transaction has helped us all take another step towards that reduction goal.”

Shirley Rodrigues, London Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy said: “Electrifying London’s bus fleet is an important step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling the devastating effects of toxic air pollution on public health. Our ambitious target for London to reach net-zero by 2030 requires investment to rapidly decarbonise our homes, offices, energy systems and transport.

This investment from MEEF shows the vital role public sector funds can play in unlocking the private sector investment needed to accelerate our net zero efforts and help Londoners breathe cleaner air as we build a greener and better London for everyone.”

Alastair Willis, Head of Commercial at Abellio, said: “Abellio London is proud to support TfL’s vision to decarbonise London and create cleaner and greener streets for all Londoners. By introducing these new state-of-the-art Wrightbus Electroliners with the enhanced features inside the bus, we will provide safe, comfortable and sustainable journeys for even more Londoners. Funding from Rock Road supports us as an operator to lead the way on EV bus technology in London.”

Ben Werth, Chief Commercial Officer at Wrightbus, said: “We are delighted to be providing 30 Electroliners - the world’s most efficient battery-electric double deck bus - for this important and busy London route.

Our buses have a second-to-none reputation for providing passenger and driver comfort while at the same time contributing significantly to the reduction of emissions in the cities they serve. Public transport is a key component in the race to net zero and we are proud to be at the forefront of this.”

Since launching in July 2018, MEEF has mobilised over £330m of funding for net zero projects across the Capital, saving c.17,230 tonnes of carbon dioxide and reduced energy usage by 39.2 GWh. MEEF has made seven investments in the zero emission mobility sector ranging from charging infrastructure to supporting London’s private hire drivers transition to electric vehicles.  

Please contact MEEF (meefinfo@amberinfrastructure.com) to discuss a potential application further.

Further information on MEEF can be found at: www.meef.co.uk 

Further information on Amber Infrastructure can be found at: www.amberinfrastructure.com


About MEEF

MEEF will provide a mixture of senior debt, mezzanine debt and equity to London’s public-sector property owners and small-to-medium-sized businesses, including but not exclusively, Local Authorities, NHS Trusts, Registered Providers, Higher and Further Education organisations, Charities and Voluntary Organisations, ESCOs and SMEs. MEEF can fund both up to 100 per cent of the capital cost of a project and part-fund large-scale regeneration projects which demonstrate low-carbon credentials.

About Amber Infrastructure Group

Amber Infrastructure (‘Amber’) is a specialist international investment manager, focused on investment origination, asset management and fund management.  With over €5.5 billion in funds under management, Amber invests across eight funds and a number of managed accounts.

Amber’s core business focuses on sourcing, developing, advising, investing in and managing infrastructure assets across the public, transport, energy, digital and demographic infrastructure sectors that support the lives of people, homes and businesses internationally.

Amber is headquartered in London with offices in Europe, North America and Australia and manages over 175 investments. Amber employs over 170 infrastructure professionals globally.

About European Regional Development Fund

The project is receiving up to £51 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

About Rock Road

Rock Road is an investor-developer, owner and asset manager of zero-emission buses in the UK. It leads the development of financing solutions for the procurement of zero-emission bus fleets as well as providing asset management services, including battery replacement.

Rock Road was established in 2021 as a subsidiary of Rock Rail, the leading procurer of new rolling stock in the UK having financed and managed the delivery of over 40% [~£3bn] of all trains introduced to the market since 2016.

About NatWest

NatWest press contact:
Stephanie Melrose, Media Relations Manager, Commercial Banking 
07966 212 576 

NatWest Group is a relationship bank for a digital world. We champion potential; breaking down barriers and building financial confidence so the 19 million people, families and businesses we serve in communities throughout the UK and Ireland can rebuild and thrive. If our customers succeed, so will we.   

Alongside a wide range of banking services, NatWest offers businesses specialist sector knowledge in areas such as sustainable energy, commercial property and technology, as well as access to specialist entrepreneurial support.  

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