£630k needed to progress switch to low emission vehicles in Antrim and Newtownabbey
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The council’s fleet strategy was discussed at a meeting of the Operations Committee, at Antrim Civic Centre, on Monday.
The local authority has been examining potential alternative fuels to diesel and has replaced four diesel vehicles with electric models, trialled hydrotreated vegetable oil and assessed conversion to hydrogen.
A consultant has reported the council’s carbon footprint is 560,000kg per annum, 96 per cent of which is from fleet vehicles with the remainder from staff cars.
Findings propose the use of electric-powered smaller vehicles, hydrotreated vegetable oil for medium and larger vans and sweepers and hydrotreated vegetable oil or hydrogen for bin lorries.
A new mix of fuel types would result in a 76 per cent decrease in CO2 emissions within six years, a report to councillors said. The committee was advised during this period, the cost of planned vehicle replacements would be £5.9m for diesel vehicles and £6.8m for low emission models.
The council has allocated £2.7m for fleet replacement during the next two years but an additional £630,000 funds would be required if the low emission vehicles are to be purchased.
Councillors were reminded that from 2030, it will no longer be possible to purchase new petrol or diesel vehicles in the United Kingdom. Glengormley DUP Alderman Paula Bradley commented it is “a lot of money” and requested more information.
Threemilewater Alliance Councillor Julie Gilmour said: “It is a very comprehensive report. It works out at £157.5k per year for four years. In context of our budget, it does not seem unrealistic. I would be happy to propose it.” Her proposal was seconded by party colleague Airport Cllr Andrew McAuley.
Macedon Ulster Unionist Cllr Robert Foster stated: “It is a considerable amount of money. If we are serious about going net zero, we need to think about spending a considerable amount of money if we are to be a leader.”
Glengormley DUP Cllr Alison Bennington asked about the monetary value of any saving. “We may be saving on carbon emission but losing on money,” she noted.
Eleven members voted in favour of approving the additional £630k cost with four voting against.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter