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Journey to greener services continues as council adopts electric vehicles

Written by on 03/09/2021

Councillors have given the go-ahead for a cleaner, greener, future for Lancashire County Council services with an investment of almost £3m in new electric vehicles and charging points.

The first service to go electric will be the county council’s parking enforcement team, who will be kitted out with 12 new vehicles to minimise the emissions produced during the many miles they cover each day.

This follows trials led by the council’s fleet services team to work out which service areas are best placed to adopt electric vehicles. They recently took delivery of three electric vans which are being ‘loaned out’ to other teams across the authority as part of an ongoing pilot.

Work will also get underway to install charging infrastructure at the offices and depots where the vehicles are based, and where they regularly visit, following the decision by cabinet this week.

County Councillor Shaun Turner, cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “We’re committed to reducing the carbon emissions produced by the council’s services to net zero, and adopting electric and other zero emissions vehicles will play a big part in achieving this.

“Our fleet services team has been working for some time to look at where we could use electric vehicles in the delivery of services, and while earlier models had too many limitations there are now far more options on the market which most importantly can go further between charges.

“With our current parking enforcement contract coming to an end, this team will come in-house from September, giving us the opportunity to equip them with electric vehicles to reduce the emissions created as they drive around the county.

“Investing in the charging infrastructure at our depots and offices to support them will also leave us well-placed to expand our use of electric vehicles in the future.”

The cabinet report outlined that the council’s highways service is expected to be an early adopter of electric vehicles and highways depots will be considered as the next area for charging points to be installed.

County Councillor Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport, added: “As the work of our highways teams naturally involves a lot of travel we will be looking closely at how they can best make use of electric vehicles to reduce the impact of their work on the environment.

“Our grounds maintenance team has also been trialling battery-operated equipment such as hedge cutters, brush cutters and chainsaws. They are now using hedge cutters for everyday jobs, with other battery-powered machines soon to follow, which are better for both the operator and the environment.”

Cabinet’s decision will see a budget of £1.98m established to invest in electric vehicles, and a further £1m to install charging infrastructure.