Chelmsford City Council’s vehicle fleet has taken another step towards lower emissions with a set of new electric vehicles which staff have begun to use in their day-to-day work. This includes utility vehicles for use in Chelmsford’s parks, and a hybrid pool car for staff to use if they need to travel during the day on Council business.
The authority’s parks staff, who look after 22 main park locations as well as a huge number of other green spaces around the city, were excited to take delivery of two plug-in electric utility vehicles in late June. The ‘green machines’ replace traditional petrol-powered units, reducing emissions to zero. They also have the benefit of being ultra-quiet, so the tranquility of the parks will not be disturbed by work being carried out.
They were used for the first time at Central Park and Chelmer Park, home of Chelmsford Cricket and Hockey Clubs, and have so far been a hit with staff.
Martin Phillips, Groundsman for Chelmer Park said, “We have been very impressed with the new electric utility vehicle here at Chelmer Park. Not only is it easy to drive but it is quiet and much greener than our older petrol version and it still pulls our heavy trailer with the cricket mowers easily.
“Its low maintenance is also a bonus; with a weekly check on distilled water in the batteries and a nightly charge, it’s ready to go!”
As at any large organisation, there is often a need for the Council’s staff to attend meetings away from their main place of work. Where meeting venues are not accessible by public transport, this has previously required staff to bring in their own cars.
To cut down on car journeys, the Council has purchased an electric-hybrid pool car. This can be booked ad-hoc by any member of staff who needs to drive to an offsite meeting. This means that staff can travel to and from work using sustainable transport and use the hybrid pool car for essential journeys during the working day.
Councillor Jude Deakin, Cabinet Member for Safer Chelmsford, said, “Chelmsford City Council is absolutely committed to reducing the impact we are having on our natural environment and on our air quality. In the past few weeks, the UK’s new target of bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 has been making headlines, and if we are to achieve this it is essential that every city, borough and parish makes changes, at every level.
“Electric vehicles are not a complete solution to the enormous environmental challenges we’re facing, but they are a good start. I am pleased with the progress made by giving Chelmsford Council a greener fleet and we will be looking to make further improvements.”
In April, two new electric vehicle charging points were announced at Baddow Road and Fairfield Road Car Parks. The Council hopes to introduce more of these at other car parks and surveys are currently being carried out to discover suitable locations.
The Council has also trialled battery-powered handheld machinery, such as hedge trimmers, strimmers and blowers to maintain the area’s parks. Over the past year, 58 petrol-powered pieces of machinery have been retired and switched to battery equipment. Again, these not only boast zero emissions, but also emit less noise and vibration, improving the environment for both residents and workers.
Friday 19 July 2019