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Electric vehicles help Ipswich to tackle its climate emergency

PUBLISHED: 15:17 03 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:17 03 July 2019

Ipswich council has started to replace its fleet with electric vehicles Fleet manager Ondraya Plowman, council leader David Ellesmere and Phil Smart are pictured with the new Renault Zoes. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Ipswich council has started to replace its fleet with electric vehicles Fleet manager Ondraya Plowman, council leader David Ellesmere and Phil Smart are pictured with the new Renault Zoes. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

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Ipswich council is preparing to declare a climate emergency in the town - and is marking that step by starting to replace many of its cars with electric vehicles.

Ipswich council has started to replace its fleet with electric vehicles. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILIpswich council has started to replace its fleet with electric vehicles. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Next week's meeting of the council's executive is expected to join other authorities across the country - including Suffolk County Council - in declaring a climate emergency.

And portfolio holder for transport and the environment Phil Smart said this would prompt the authority to take positive steps to tackling the issue.

Over the next two years it is to replace 30 of its pool cars and car-derived vans with electric vehicles - and has just taken delivery of the first 11, including Renault Zoes from local dealers Bristos.

As well as the electric vehicles it will also be replacing some of its larger vehicles with low-emission lorries as part of the £4m programme.

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Mr Smart said: "We will be spending £4m over the next two years in replacing vehicles, including 40% of our pool car and small van fleet.

"Most of their journeys are comparatively short, within the town, and are ideal for electric vehicles - they are used by officers visiting workplaces or homes, carrying items around the town and generally going about council business.

"At the moment the technology is not developed enough to have larger electric vehicles. There are some tests of electric dustcarts going on in London, but they are not yet available - so we have low emission vehicles for that kind of work."

The executive will be told that the council's carbon emissions fell by 21% between 2008 and 2015 - and had fallen by a further 14% between April 2015 and April 2018. It aims to cut carbon emissions by 25% from the 2015 figure by 2025.

Mr Smart said: "The new vehicles are very important to that - but there are many other steps we are taking to reduce our carbon footprint.

"We are improving the insulation of our buildings - including our council homes - and taking steps like bringing in new covers to keep our swimming pools warm."

The executive will be told that the council has replaced nearly 2,500 boilers with more efficient models and improving radiators in its homes as well as improving insulation during a £12m programme over recent years.

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