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Council trials electric vehicle in push to cut carbon emissions

Uttlesford District Council is trialling a new electric van as part of its drive towards cutting carbon emissions.

The Renault Master E-Tech - which was unveiled at the Eco Market event in Saffron Walden on Saturday - will be used by the Grounds Maintenance team, who carry out tasks such as grass and hedge cutting at the council's sheltered housing sites and communal areas.

The van will also be tested out by the Street Cleansing team, whose duties include litter picking and fly-tip clearance, to see how it performs, with the service looking to move to electric vans when the current fleet is due for replacement in 2027/28. The council is also working with the Energy Savings Trust to develop a longer-term plan for decarbonising its whole fleet.

The 100% electric vehicle offers up to 120 miles of driving and is estimated to cut 37.66 tonnes of CO2 over 60,000 miles compared to a standard diesel vehicle.

Cllr Neil Reeve, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change, said: "We are committed to achieving net-zero carbon status by 2030 and continue with efforts to reduce pollution. Making the transition to cleaner transport models when we are able to do so is an important part in helping us to achieve these goals.

"The Grounds Maintenance team visit many locations across the district and this new electric vehicle will ensure they are able to travel around in a more environmentally-friendly way."

Cutting transport emissions - which make up a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions - is a priority of the council. It has installed a network of publicly accessible EV charging points in recent years to encourage take up of electric vehicles (these are located at its car parks at London Road and the Common, Saffron Walden, as well as White Street and Chequers Lane car parks in Dunmow, and Crafton Green in Stansted).

Further work is planned in the form of various clean air and active travel schemes that are being piloted in Saffron Walden as part of its Saffron Walden Clean Air Project. This includes the piloting of an EV Car Club. If successful, these initiatives could be rolled out to other areas of the district.

Further information about the Saffron Walden Clean Air Project and the council's other climate change initiatives is available at:

15 June 2023