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Electric Cars Help Reduce Carbon Footprint In The Highlands

28th August 2012

Photograph of Electric Cars Help Reduce Carbon Footprint In The Highlands

Public agencies in the Highlands are leading the way in reducing carbon emissions from travel by using electric cars and vans for business use. In addition, the electric vehicles are expected to generate significant savings in both running costs when compared to hiring a regular car.

The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Fire Service, Cairngorms National Park Authority and Northern Constabulary have formed the Highland Community Partnership to lease or buy electric vehicles with low carbon outputs. The Scottish Government provided gap funding to cover the cost difference between leasing these electric vehicles compared with standard equivalents through the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Scheme.

The funding aims to demonstrate that public bodies are making a positive contribution to reduce carbon emissions from travel and to investigate electric vehicle performance and the infrastructure required to support their use.

The Scottish Government envisages almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050 through the wholesale adoption of electric cars and vans and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The overall allocation for Highland Community Partners in 2012/13 is 127,000 which has enabled the lease of four Vauxhall Ampera cars and the purchase of a Ford Transit Connect van with appropriate charging points and connectivity. The Vauxhall Ampera was chosen because of its ability to travel 50 miles powered by electricity alone before reverting to a combustion engine for a further range of 340 miles if required. The vehicle can also be fully charged in 4 hours.

The Highland allocation in the previous year was 120,000 and allowed the purchase of two electric vans for The Highland Council and three electric vehicles for Northern Constabulary.

Councillor Drew Hendry, Leader of The Highland Council said: "This electric vehicle and charging initiative will assist the public sector in meeting the target of a 42% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020. In addition these electric vehicles are expected to generate significant savings in both running costs and carbon emissions when compared to hiring a regular car. Highland Council has reduced business travel miles by over 1.5 million since 2008 through its Carbon Management Plan and further mile and carbon reductions are expected."

Andy Rinning, Business Services Manager at the Cairngorms National Park Authority, said: "The Cairngorms National Park Authority welcomes the opportunity to take advantage of the lease of an electric hybrid vehicle. The reduction in carbon emissions from business travel is one of the Park Authority's key performance indicators. Reductions of 25% have been achieved since 2008 and the acquisition of the newly leased Vauxhall Ampera will enable further reductions to be achieved. The Park Authority has had an electric vehicle as part of its pool car fleet since 2010 and the addition of the new hybrid car will help promote low carbon travel across the Park."

Gareth Armstrong Fleet Manager with Northern Constabulary said "Northern Constabulary have reduced fleet emissions by almost 25% over recent years and intend to further reduce the environmental impact through constantly monitoring vehicle use and by supporting Scottish Government targets through introducing low carbon vehicles. This latest addition to the fleet brings the number of electric vehicles operated by the Constabulary to four. At a time of budgetary constraints the Scottish Government and The Highland Council have been instrumental in supporting this initiative and it is hoped that low carbon vehicles can be further utilised across the island areas when funding permits.

Steve Little, Fleet & Equipment Manager of Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue Service said "In a bid to support the environment as well as the community it serves, the Service has recently taken delivery of an electric van in place of a conventional vehicle requiring replacement. The van has been put into service within the Supplies & Distribution department in Inverness. The part funding from the Scottish Government meant the cost to the Service was limited to the cost of a standard van. The electric van has made a valued contribution towards reducing our carbon footprint and our vehicle running costs."


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