Penzance Council’s vehicle fleet has turned electric!

17th August 2023 in Council News, Environment, Services

A key part of our Climate Emergency Action Plan for the Parish of Penzance was upgrading our fleet of vehicles to be electric and moving away from our use of fossil fuels.

We now have a range of electric vehicles (EVs) that are helping the council deliver important services across the parish, from street weeding to playground maintenance.

In a UK first, a fully electric Etesia ET Lander started its rounds in the parish earlier this summer! At just 3.72 metres long, it’s very compact with a flatbed ideal for transporting our water tank and larger gardening and maintenance equipment, all whilst running 100% on electricity.

We’ve crunched the numbers and, by switching from our previous diesel vans to the new electric fleet, we will be saving 7.3 tonnes of CO2 per year from being released into the atmosphere (based on each vehicle travelling 8km per year). That’s the equivalent of planting 365 trees or taking 19 economy flights from London to Portugal! (You can find the source of these calculations at the bottom of the page)

Like other councils and public sector organisations, Penzance Council is on a journey: to cut its carbon emissions whilst continuing to deliver important services for local people.

“This is a milestone for Penzance Council. Our Leisure & Amenities team do a great job around the parish, as witness the 5-star “Pride in Parks” rating awarded to Penlee Park for three years running. Said Cllr Stephen Reynolds, Mayor of Penzance.

“Investing in a fully EV fleet means they can carry on providing this service to the local community while reducing air and noise pollution, and doing their bit to protect the planet for future generations.”

Penzance Council's new electric vehicles - 2 vans and 1 flatbed truck
Penzance Council's new electric vehicles - 2 vans and 1 flatbed truck
'Electric Vehicle' sign on Penzance Council's new flat bed truck

In April 2019, Penzance Council unanimously declared a climate emergency. A Climate Emergency Sub-Committee was then set up, which includes representatives from Sustainable Penzance, Plastic Free Penzance, Extinction Rebellion West Cornwall, the Women’s Institute, and Mounts Bay Marine Group, to establish a comprehensive action plan and forge local partnerships to help lead the battle to tackle climate change.

We know that we need to lead by example in our community so have been working hard to implement our Climate Emergency Action Plan which, besides switching to electric vehicles, includes:

  • Using locally sourced food at all Council events and in The Orangery Café
  • Providing Climate Emergency grants for local organisations and groups actively working to make a difference on the ground
  • Installing multi-waste bins in our open spaces for general litter and mixed recycling
  • Stopped using glyphosate-based weed killers
  • Swapping to electric powered gardening equipment
  • Replacing our office windows with energy efficient double glazing
  • Investigating the switch to a green energy provider for all council buildings
  • We are single-use plastic free in both The Orangery Café and the Penlee House Shop
  • Penlee House has upgraded the majority of its lighting to LED lamps, with more planned in the future

James Hardy, Penzance Town Clerk, said “Penzance Council’s switch to electric vehicles reaffirms our commitment to making tangible changes to reduce our carbon footprint.

“Our declaration of a climate emergency and our climate emergency action plan must be more than a paperwork exercise. Identifying a need for change and the implementation of the electric vehicles across the operational team is the most recent example of real changes that the council is making to put climate considerations at the forefront of council decision making.”

Penzance Council’s Climate Action Emergency Action Plan, and the progress made on its targets, can be read in full on the council website.

There is still a long way to go and, as technology advances, we will undoubtedly need to adapt again in the future. These are just the first steps to finding long-term solutions and we will be keeping a close eye on developments within the technology sector so we can implement new advances quickly.

The switch to electric council vehicles is not something we’re doing in isolation; it supports the community vision set out by Sustainable Penzance, a Community Interest Company dedicated to making Penzance a more sustainable community that is resilient, and puts people, place and planet first.

Rachel Yates from Sustainable Penzance said: “The move towards electric vehicles at Penzance Council is a step in the right direction, and an indication of how the council is still working to put its Climate Action Plan into place.

“We look forward to seeing more actions that create and protect the kind of community we need for the future, as we face the impact of changing climate, sea-level rise and the loss of the nature systems that support the town and everyone who lives here”.

Penzance Council would like to thank all the contractors who have helped to make this change to EVs possible: NSN Electrical for installing charging units for all the new council vehicles, Andrew Symons LTD for supplying the Etesia ET Lander, Days Fleet for the lease of the new council vans, and St Ives Signs for our brand new vehicle signage.

References

We worked out that our switch to EVs would save 7.3 tonnes of CO2 per year from being released into the atmosphere (based on each vehicle travelling 8km per year) here: Car Carbon Footprint Calculator (drivesmart.co.uk)

We worked out the equivalent of 7.3 tonnes of CO2 here: What exactly is 1 tonne of CO2? We make it tangible. – Climate Neutral Group

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