Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider the new draft Fleet Management Strategy (copy attached) including the evaluation of the use of potential alternative fuel sources.


The Lead Member for Highways, Planning and Sustainable Travel introduced the joint report by the Principal Manager:  Service Improvement and Fleet and the Fleet Manager which presented the Committee with the revised draft Fleet Strategy for the Council’s vehicle fleet.  Copies of the report and draft strategy had been published and circulated in advance of the meeting.  During his introduction the Lead Member emphasised the need for the Council to reduce its carbon emissions, but in doing so it was important that its fleet was fit for purpose to deliver vital services.


The Head of Highways and Environment advised that the default position would be, when replacing vehicles, not to automatically replace them with diesel vehicles.  When a Service required to replace a vehicle it would need to consider replacing it with electric or alternative fuel vehicles in the first instance.  If the Service was of the view that such vehicles would not be fit for the purpose for which they were required, they would then need to evidence the case why a diesel vehicle was the only suitable replacement.  He emphasised that the Strategy related to how the Authority purchased and disposed of its vehicles and how that process fitted in and contributed towards the Corporate Plan, specifically to the work stream relating to reducing the Authority’s carbon emissions.


Responding to members’ questions the Lead Member, Head of Service, Principal Manager:  Service Improvement & Fleet, and the Fleet Manager:

·         confirmed that, as a pilot project, two electric vans had already been purchased for use by the Council’s Business Improvement and Modernisation Service.  These would be brought into service once electric charging points were installed in the main office and depot locations;

·         advised that for the foreseeable future charging points installed on Council premises would be restricted for use to charge Council vehicles only;

·         reassured that work was currently underway on a regional basis with partners to explore who was interested in working with local authorities in relation to establishing an electric vehicle charging infrastructure across North Wales;

·         confirmed that the Council currently purchased its vehicle and heating fuel via the national fuel framework.  The contract for its provision had recently been out for tender;

·         asserted that, whilst purchasing electric vehicles could contribute towards reducing carbon emissions from the Council’s fleet, driving techniques for all vehicles had a greater contribution to make to the carbon reduction agenda;

·         assured that all Council vehicles were required by law to be equipped with Tachographs in order to monitor driver activity.  Of the Authority’s 400 vehicles, all but approximately 15, the majority of which were school minibuses, were fitted with telematic systems.  Schools were advised when enquiring on replacing minibuses to ensure that they were fitted with telematics systems;

·         agreed that all new vehicles in future would be fitted with more detailed information systems which would detail driving techniques data and their impact on fuel consumption and carbon emissions etc.;

·         emphasised that all vehicles currently had to meet European emission standards and that diesel was not as bad as media publicity portrayed it;

·         advised that battery power technology was currently developing at an increasing rate;

·         explained the reasons why Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) powered vehicles were not being considered for inclusion in the Council’s fleet, mainly because the majority of LPG vehicles were either hybrid or converted vehicles as manufacturers did not produce LPG only vehicles;

·         advised that the Council procured its vehicles via a framework agreement, similar to the way it purchased its fuel;

·         confirmed that when disposing of vehicles they were cleaned and valeted and all traces of names or logos were properly removed ahead of their sale;

·         agreed that the Council did have a lot of vehicles on the road at the same time, whilst there was risk that this may be perceived by some as a waste of the Council’s resources all vehicles undertaking journeys at the same time were delivering specific services to residents and businesses from a very wide range of services i.e. Highways, Social Care, refuse collections etc.;

·         advised that circa 90% of the work in commissioning vehicles for the Council’s use was undertaken by the Authority’s own Fleet Department;

·         explained that consideration had been given to permitting staff and the general public to use the proposed 20 new electric charging points to be located at various Council run locations by the end of 2020/21, however it had been decided not to permit this for the foreseeable future.  The reason being that if the Council’s own fleet of electric vehicles increased during this period the Authority could have to withdraw permission for staff and the public to use the charging points, which would damage the Authority’s reputation in the long-run;

·         confirmed that the provision of vehicle charging points for public use was being considered as part of the Council’s draft Sustainable Travel Plan which was currently being drawn-up.  This draft plan was scheduled to be presented to the Committee in early 2020 for consideration.  Vehicle charging points would be available for public use at the car park that would be developed on the site of the former Post Office in Rhyl;

·         clarified the role of the Corporate Hire Desk Facility;

·         explained that the Council could not share ‘spare’ lorries etc. with neighbouring authorities as it had to hold an Operator’s Licence for every Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) it operated.  Also, spare specialist vehicles such as gritting lorries were likely to be required by all authorities at the same time, due to the specific type of service they were used for delivering.  It was however pleasing to report that the WG had recently purchased two gritting vehicles specifically for the purpose of keeping the A55 key travel route open on and around Rhuallt Hill; and

·         advised that it seemed unlikely at present that electric powered vehicles would be suitable to collect refuse, even under the proposed new waste and recycling model.  Whilst electric vehicles were being developed for all types of purposes, at present it seemed more probable that larger vehicles may in future be powered by hydrogen.


The Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets undertook to raise with the Procurement Team whether there were any specific requirements under the procurement process - apart from Corporate Plan considerations - that when setting up a tendering process for replacing vehicles consideration should initially be given to purchasing electric vehicles, then alternative fuel vehicles ahead of vehicles fuelled by fossil fuels.


Members welcomed the proposed new strategy and its aims and ambitions.  They also congratulated officers for producing a well written, clear, concise and easy to understand document.


At the conclusion of the discussion the Lead Member and officers, in response to the Committee’s request, agreed to include a reference in the Strategy to the fact that all vehicles would be fitted with tracking/telematics equipment for monitoring purposes to ensure that all vehicles are driven efficiently .  It was therefore:


Resolved: - subject to the above observations and the inclusion of a section on fitting vehicle tracking and telematics equipment to Council vehicles to aid efficient driving practices, to support the Strategy’s adoption



At this juncture the Committee became inquorate but continued to transact its business on an informal basis.


Supporting documents: