Gwynedd Council adopts electric vehicle overhaul scheme

A council has adopted a scheme which is set to overhaul its fleet of vehicles, leading to the introduction of electric cars and trials of alternative fuels.

Cyngor Gwynedd agreed to adopt its ‘Green Fleet Plan 2023-28’ during its last cabinet meeting.

The council, which declared a climate change emergency in 2019, hopes to reduce fuel emissions from its vehicles.

The plan, made up of a “collective of initiatives”, would initially see a reduction in vehicles.

“The aim of the scheme is to reduce the carbon emissions from the council fleet use,” Cllr Parry Jones said.

Among the first steps, managers could now be “challenged” over their need to use vehicles.

Trials of alternative fuels, including vegetable oil and hydrogen, would soon be under way and fleet stock would be gradually replaced with low emission vehicles.

Presenting the Green Fleet report, Councillor Berwyn Parry Jones sought a formal cabinet decision to adopt the plan.

The plan followed the publishing of the council’s Climate and Nature Emergency Plan, in March, 2022.

“This scheme set out the council’s ambition to be ‘net-zero carbon and ecologically positive by 2030’,” the report stated.

It included a commitment to “not buy, renew, or dispose of any vehicle before first discussing its needs with the fleet manager, and obtaining consent”.

It added that it was “necessary to create a corporate pool system instead of departmental”.

The report also said that “the fleet manager would lead the work of ‘weeding out’ the existing stock of fleet vehicles and creating a vehicle structure for each department”.

Plans to decarbonise the council vehicle fleet would initially focus on three themes – “weeding, innovation and renewal,” Cllr Parry Jones said.

“Weeding” would see the identification of ways to reduce fleet vehicles, “innovation” would look at new technologies and “renewal” would see the introduction of low emission vehicles.

At the start of September 2022, the council had 543 vehicles in its fleet and 84 hired vehicles, although the figure fluctuated.

Head of highways and municipal Steffan Jones said actual needs to use the fleet would be identified and “managers would need to be challenged for using these vehicles”.

The report also suggested that “Cyngor Gwynedd should make it policy that any car purchased from now on is electric”.

It added: “The exception to this, is that relevant managers can prove why the electric version of the vehicle is not suitable.”

Mr Jones added that there were “targets and an expectation” from the Welsh Government, that by 2030 any vehicle bought would be a low emission vehicle.

It also noted, the electric, hydrogen and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles market was “moving fairly quickly”, and in the next few months, the roll out of the HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) trial would be underway.

Part of the fleet service could possibly be run on HVO rather than diesel, where there were no electric alternatives.

Hailed as an “interesting scheme” by council leader Cllr Dyfrig Seincyn, Cllr Parry Jones’ proposal was unanimously accepted by the cabinet.

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