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Electric vans put school dinners on road to being more eco-friendly

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Cllr Keith Mans with a van, one of Hampshire County Council's new Nissan e-NV200s
Cllr Keith Mans with a van, one of Hampshire County Council's new Nissan e-NV200s

SCHOOL dinners are on the road to lower costs and carbon emissions, thanks to four new Nissan electric vehicles joining the catering fleet of Hampshire County Council.

The delivery vehicles are part of the council’s growing electric fleet which now includes 29 Nissan Leaf cars and nine Nissan e-NV200 vans.

HCC leader Cllr Keith Mans said: “We aim to replace county council vehicles with electric vehicles whenever possible.

"Electric vehicles save 9p on fuel costs for every mile driven, and have no emissions, which is why they form part of our overall strategy to reduce the county council’s impact on the planet.

“It’s especially fitting to see our catering service, HC3S, beginning to use electric vehicles. After many years of championing local food suppliers, HC3S has already shown great commitment to minimising the carbon emissions of school meals. The natural next step is to introduce electric vehicles.”

The new electric vehicles replace older diesel vehicles that had reached the end of their lease. The cars will be used for administrative work, while the vans will deliver some 6,000 meals per week to schools that do not have their own kitchens.

HCC said the service, which provided more than 11-million primary school meals in the last financial year, also provides catering for some locations outside the county, such as in Dorset and Wiltshire, generating income and offsetting the cost of Hampshire’s meals.

The colourful livery on the vans – designed to make them instantly recognisable at the school gate – is also an advance in sustainability, being made from a new biodegradable wrap material.

Cllr Mans added: “For many years we have been supporting our staff to make fewer journeys, by providing the technology to work remotely and using more teleconferencing.

"Where journeys are unavoidable, our aim is to minimise the impact. This means using vehicles economically, and only replacing them when necessary – after all, producing new cars has a carbon footprint too.

"For this reason, the number of electric vehicles in the fleet is slowly growing, but in a gradual and sustainable way.”

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