In pursuit of its net zero objectives, a North East council has taken a significant step by enlarging its electric vehicle fleet.

Durham County Council has recently obtained 29 brand new electric vehicles (EV) as a crucial component of its vehicle replacement initiative. This initiative involves replacing vehicles that are due for renewal with their electric counterparts, aligning with the council’s commitment to sustainability and achieving net zero emissions.

This includes 24 new midi vans, which will be used across a number of council services including clean and green, strategic waste, and the allotments team. Five vans are also currently being converted for use by neighbourhood wardens dealing with stray dogs.

These join the electric refuse collection vehicle, eight electric pool cars and two other midi vans already on the fleet.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “Reducing carbon emissions within our own services is a key priority for us as we aim to tackle climate change as a county. 

“We are replacing smaller vehicles that are at the end of their use with electric versions, which in the long term will significantly reduce our carbon output as a council, and aim to be able to replace our larger vehicles with EVs in the future. We have also increased our renewable energy production to charge these vehicles.

“This scheme coincides with our aim to make electric charging more accessible across the county. We are currently in the process of installing 250 public EV charge points so that residents have the option to travel more sustainably.”

The council this year hosted the third Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) roadshow at Durham Town Hall. 

The event, organised by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), PA consultants, and the Energy Saving Trust, supports local authorities in England in planning and delivering charge point infrastructure for residents without off-street parking.

It looked at accessible EV charging and how to expand EV fleets and secure procurement contracts and attracted more than 100 attendees from local authorities across England.

A funding pot of £383 million will be available over the next two years for councils to apply for EV infrastructure projects.

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