Council's drive to become carbon neutral
South Ayrshire Council is determined to reduce its carbon footprint, and protect the environment for future generations. One of the key projects to help achieve this ambition is its use of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
The Council has been running electric vehicles since 2012 and there are now 37 electric / hybrid cars and vans in the fleet which have been funded by Transport Scotland. These vehicles assist the Council in working towards the Scottish Government's commitment to have zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, with a 75% cut by 2030.
The Council fleet includes the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Nissan NV200 and the newest addition BMWi3s, as well as a number of plug-in hybrid cars such as the Kia Nero and Kia Optima.
In the early days, electric vehicles had a limited range of approximately 50 miles, but some of the newer vehicles can now cover an amazing 170 miles on one charge!
An example of the positive impact of electric vehicles is the Council's mail van which delivers internal mail around Council buildings. In July 2017, the diesel van was replaced by an electric vehicle which led to a saving of £863.44 per year in running costs and a massive reduction in emissions.
Councillor Ian Cochrane, Environment Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said:
"The Scottish Government has declared a climate emergency, and transport is currently the UK's largest source of carbon emissions. This underlines our commitment to use electric and hybrid vehicles to cut air pollution for the residents of South Ayrshire.
"The impact of these vehicles is truly startling, not only in terms of carbon reduction but in savings on fuel and running costs. The added bonus is that there is no purchase or hire costs to the Council, as all the vehicles are funded by Transport Scotland through their Switched on Fleets Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Procurement program."
The newest additions to the Council fleet are nine BMWi3s. These fully electric cars have a range of 160 miles and are extremely reliable, great news as maintenance is the only cost to the Council. The new cars are already proving popular with staff.
Through Transport Scotland, the Council has also procured environmentally friendly vehicles for Community Planning Partners including: University West Of Scotland; Ayrshire College; Police Scotland; NHS; South Ayrshire Community Transport; and Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA).