The first of a fleet of new electric council vehicles hit the streets of Leeds this week. They offer significant fuel savings – and their reduced emissions will also help tackle problems of air quality in the city centre.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, who heads up environment and sustainability and is Deputy Leader of the Council, took the plug-in van on its inaugural journey.800_cllryeadondriveselectricvan

In all, a total of 42 all electric vehicles will add to, and in some cases replace, electric and hybrid vehicles in the council’s fleet.

It’s estimated that the vehicles will travel a combined total of around 450,000 miles a year offering fuel savings of £24,600.

Some of the vans and cars will be used to deliver council services primarily within the city centre, where the reduced emissions will have the most impact, taking steps towards improved air quality.

Many other environmentally savvy-businesses have already made the switch to greener vehicles in their fleet and are already benefitting from fuel savings.

With more electric council cars and vans on the road, it’s hoped that others will follow the council’s example and make the switch to low emission vehicles.

As Lucinda Yeadon put it:

“A very famous frog once sang that it wasn’t easy being green. In Leeds we want to show that it is.
“Clearly we need vehicles to deliver many council services but we can do so in a way that is more sustainable.
“Making the switch to electric vehicles means we can cut emissions from our business as usual operations and make not insignificant financial savings too.
“Having taken a van out for a spin, I can clearly see the benefits and I hope others will too.”

The new vehicles are only part of the Council’s plans to improve air quality.

As we’ve reported before, they’re encouraging all of us by incentivizing the use of ultra-low emission vehicles.
As well as the new additions to the fleet, the council is offering Leeds ultra-low emission vehicle drivers a free parking permit.
More parking for electric vehicles is being allocated in council car parks and through planning conditions the council is ensuring new developments have suitable charging points.

As well as greening its own fleet, the council is continuing to encourage people to use sustainable transport and working to help remove barriers for the transport industry to make positive changes too.
Discussions with bus companies are ongoing to help them maximize their green credentials.

In these difficult times, we look to local government to provide local solutions. Leeds Labour Council is certainly doing that – and green ones, too.

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