New Forest District Council plugging into a greener future

Distinctive new council vehicles will be on the roads of the New Forest from early in the New Year, as New Forest District Council begins using four new electric vans

Two of the efficient, zero-emission vehicles will be used by two members of the cleaning team who look after 24 public toilet blocks across the district.

The others will transport two of the council’s car park enforcement officers between the locations they patrol.

The new vehicles will replace older diesel vans, helping to reduce emissions as they travel daily between the district’s towns and villages.

Councillor Alison Hoare, NFDC’s portfolio holder for Environment and Regulatory Services, said: “Across the council we are looking at ways of reducing our environmental impact. As part of that, we asked the Energy Saving Trust to carry out an audit of our vehicle fleet to see which may be suitable for alternative fuel vehicles.

“We have acted on the Trust’s recommendation to initially purchase a small number of electric vehicles which will have an immediate impact on reducing our emissions and will allow us to assess which of our services could make use of electric vehicles in future.”

The council has installed four electric charging points for the new vehicles at its depot in Lymington, in addition to the one already in use at its offices in Lyndhurst.

The model of van chosen is expected to do up to 100 miles on one charge.

The drivers will also be trained in how to use their vehicles most economically to maximise the distance that can be travelled.

“Going forward,” continued Cllr Hoare, “we aim to purchase electric vehicles whenever possible when council vehicles are due for replacement. And across the council we are actively supporting our employees to make fewer journeys by providing the technology to work remotely.”

The public can already make use of electric vehicle charging points in NFDC’s main Fordingbridge and Ringwood car parks and another 26 charging points will be installed in nine more of the council’s car parks during 2020.

Councillor Edward Heron, NFDC’s portfolio holder for planning and infrastructure, commented: “As part of our recent refurbishment of Fordingbridge car park we took the opportunity to install vehicle charging points.  I am pleased that in 2020 we will see more charging points being made available across the District.”