Council Launches First Electric Fleet Vehicle

Electric Vehicle

READING Borough Council has taken delivery of its first ever electric-powered van, with more to be added to the Council fleet over the coming months.

The new electric-powered vehicles reduce the impact of the Council fleet on local air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide associated with diesel vehicles.

The first electric vehicle arrived earlier this month. It replaces the old diesel van driven by the Council’s animal warden and will result in zero exhaust emissions. It will be used to collect strays, journeys to and from kennels and to help re-unite lost dogs with their owners.

The new electric vehicle follows the recent installation of electric vehicle charge points at the Civic Offices.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“The delivery of the first ever electric vehicle is the next phase of the Council’s on-going drive to reduce its own nitrogen dioxide and carbon emissions.

“In terms of carbon emissions over which we have direct control,  the Council has had massive success  in recent years with an 11% decrease in 2015/16 building on previous significant reductions.

“For Reading as a whole, we have produced 38% less carbon emissions per head of population between 2005 and 2014. That is the best in Berkshire, the 5th best performance in the South East out of 74 local authorities and the 27th best out of 408 local authorities nationally.

“I look forward to our electric fleet growing in the months and years to come as the Council continues to do its bit to improve air quality.”

The introduction of an electric fleet forms part of the Council’s own Air Quality Action Plan. It includes the introduction of charging points into car parks and as part of new developments and the replacement of Council fleet vehicles with electric vehicles where feasible.

In common with most successful towns and cities, transport emissions have long been the main source of pollutants in Reading. Increases in population, large new housing developments on the outskirts of town and businesses relocating to the area have all generated more car use. Reading’s location next to the M4 encourages car travel, with many commuter and visitor journeys starting and ending outside of the town. It’s also home to one of the busiest train stations on the national rail network, which will continue to be served by far too many polluting diesel trains as a direct result of the failure to deliver a full electrification programme on the Great Western Region.

The Council’s efforts to date have focused on encouraging the use of alternative forms of transport – particularly public transport, walking and cycling – with some considerable success. The number of cars entering central Reading has fallen by 6% from 2008 to 2016, public transport use has risen by 19% in the same period and bus trips increased to 1.2 million last year, bucking the national trend. Reading Buses – the Council owned bus company – continues to be at the forefront of technology using low emission buses.

Press Officer Contact: Oscar Mortali: 0118 937 2301 / oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk

Notes To Editors:

Other examples of Council-led initiatives  delivered as part of Reading Borough Council’s existing Air Quality Action Plan include:

  • Reading Buses – the Council owned bus company – has the highest proportion of hybrid or CNG powered buses (nearly 50%) of any fleet in the country.
  • Building two new park and rides at Mereoak and Winnersh, with a total of 1,000 new parking spaces.
  • Building two new public transport interchanges to the north and south of Reading Station
  • Opening Reading’s largest cycle hub last year, with space for 600 bicycles
  • A dedicated new bus lane on the A33, speeding up bus and car journey times and complementing the new Mereoak Park & Ride
  • Opening Christchurch Bridge, the Council’s popular new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Thames
  • Installing thousands of solar panels on Council and community buildings – with more to come – to reduce both emissions and energy bills.
  • Introducing Readybike – the town’s own cycle hire scheme – which now has more than 10,000 subscriptions.

Looking forward the Council has secured funding for a new railway station at Green Park, and is working with the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership to secure funding for a dedicated bus, pedestrian and cycle route (East Reading Mass Rapid Transit), which if approved by Planning Committee will help alleviate congestion at Cemetery Junction by providing an alternative and quick route between central Reading, east Reading and the new housing growth areas planned in Wokingham Borough.

Other initiatives recently announced include a public information campaign to discourage vehicle idling, and securing agreement as to the standards of Council-licenced taxis via the adoption of a new taxi emissions policy.

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301