FOUR new zero-emission electric vans have been purchased by New Forest District Council as it looks to reduce its environmental impact.
Two of the distinctive vehicles will be used by members of the council’s cleaning team, which looks after 24 public toilet blocks across the district.
The others will be used to transport the council’s car park enforcement officers between the locations they patrol.
The council’s cabinet member for the environment and regulatory services, Cllr Alison Hoare, 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 also 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 be able to cover 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.
Cllr Hoare added: “Going forward 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.”
Members of the public can already make use of electric vehicle charging points in the New Forest District Council 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.
Cllr Edward Heron, who is the council’s cabinet member for planning and infrastructure, said: “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.”