Working collaboratively, Greens and Liberal Democrats aim to kick-start a green transport revolution.
They are bringing forward a motion that will commit the County Council to move to using electric or low emission vehicles, as well as use its leverage with contractors to cut reliance on polluting petrol and diesel vehicles.
Green Party County Councillor for the Minchinhampton Division, Rachel Smith, commented: “This is a really exciting opportunity for the County Council to lead the way on making its fleet of vehicles cleaner and greener. The adoption of electric vehicles is part of a wider set of measures for sustainable transport that will reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and give people choices to adopt more active and environmentally friendly ways of getting around. This motion is the first step in moving Gloucestershire towards this vision. It deserves to receive cross party support.”
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health and Communities, County Councillor Iain Dobie, (Leckhampton and Warden Hill) added: “We are calling on the County Council to commit to 10% of its vehicle fleet powered by non-polluting technologies by 2019. This equates to 8 electric or low emission cars, vans or minibuses - typically replacing diesel, the worst offender when it comes to air pollution.”
The motion will be tabled at the full County Council meeting on Wednesday 6th December.
The motion also aims to engage with district councils and other relevant stakeholders across the County to promote adoption of electric and low emission vehicles, including through identifying schemes, funding and other incentives for provision of publicly accessible EV charging points, and EV charging points in new housing developments.
The lack of ambition on the part of central government when it comes to engaging with cleaner technology and tackling air pollution was demonstrated once again in yesterday’s budget. It is up to local authorities to take the lead where central government fails to do so.
In Gloucestershire, the Green party, along with the Lib Dems, are taking the lead in improving our air quality and these are the first steps in attempting to kick-start a truly sustainable air quality plan that will avert a public health crisis that contributes to the premature death of 40,000 people across the UK every year and costs the taxpayer more than £20bn** annually. We cannot afford to wait to take action. If we act now we can create a healthier future for people across the country.
The full text of the motion is:
Adoption and Promotion of Electric Vehicles
Proposed by Cllr Rachel Smith, Seconded by Cllr Iain Dobie
This Council notes the great importance of good air quality to public health and wellbeing in Gloucestershire. Poor air quality not only contributes to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year, but also limits uptake of cycling, and reduces pedestrian numbers - harming wider public health goals.
This Council notes that a leading cause of air pollution is vehicle emissions. This Council further notes that air quality monitoring is a district responsibility, but that air quality issues need a co-ordinated approach between all local authorities in order to reduce unnecessary deaths from poor air quality and cut carbon emissions.
Councillors agree that more can be done through this authority to combat poor air quality, and welcome the formation of an air quality task group. Recognising the urgency of the problem of both air pollution and carbon emissions, this Council:
a) Commits to moving to electric or low emission options wherever possible for all direct or indirectly operated council vehicles at the earliest opportunity.
b) Commits to replacing 10% of the vehicles within its fleet (owned or leased) with electric or low emission vehicles by 2019.
c) Commits to establishing principles for use in procurement to encourage use of electric or low emission vehicles by Council contractors.
d) Commits to engaging with district councils and other relevant stakeholders to promote adoption of electric and low emission vehicles, including through identifying schemes, funding and other incentives for provision of publicly accessible EV charging points, and EV charging points in new housing developments.