Council tests hybrid vehicles in a bid to improve carbon emissions

The Forest of Dean District Council is making progress on its initial actions set to tackle the climate emergency and become carbon neutral by 2030 by investigating options to replace council owned vehicles with low carbon alternatives.

Council owned vehicles operated by council employees such as the Street Wardens make up almost five percent of the Council’s annual emissions. Low carbon alternatives for the Street Warden vans have been investigated with the trial of a Toyota Corolla Hybrid T/S Icon Tech, 1.8, CVT, Estate. The trial took place during the first week of December 2019 and by utilising the data gathered during the trial it has shown that the hybrid vehicle saved 26% on fuel costs and 20% in carbon emissions compared to the Street Warden’s current diesel vans.

The Street Wardens said “It was a pleasure to drive and would make a wonderful family vehicle or a great option as a company pool car. However this particular hybrid vehicle could not fit the cages used for the collection of stray dogs which is a statutory service under The Environmental Protection (Stray Dog) Regulations 1992.”

A site survey for the installation of an electric vehicle charging point (EVCP) in the Council office staff car park has also been undertaken. It is hoped that the installation of an EVCP will enable the Street Wardens to trial an electric van and provide infrastructure to support the move to electric vehicles for the Council’s operations. Any learning from this trial will be utilised to investigate the feasibility of installing EVCPs at other Council owned assets.

Cllr Chris McFarling, Joint Deputy Leader of the Council with responsibility for Climate Emergency says: “It is crucial that we research and gather evidence before we invest in the transition from diesel to electric vehicles. We need to make decisions which are cost effective whilst lowering our carbon footprint as quickly as we can. Our lead will enable others to follow and the whole community to benefit.”

Free trials of hybrid and electric vehicles are available at many car dealerships and it is possible to receive a ‘plug-in grant’ for many eligible low-emission vehicles. In addition, the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) offers grant schemes for the installation of home or workplace charge points. The locations of current charging points available in Gloucestershire can be viewed online at sites such as ZapMap.

The Council remains keen to work collaboratively with the community, Town and Parish Councils and other partners to tackle the climate emergency and will continue to keep everyone informed about its progress.

For further information and ‘Top Tips’ on how to lower your carbon footprint view the Council’s climate change webpage: www.fdean.gov.uk/residents/environment/climate-change/top-tips/

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