At their next meeting, the council’s cabinet will consider a plan to spend £4.9m on introducing zero emission, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to their fleet.

Council staff drive over 500 vehicles and operate more than 600 other pieces of equipment, such as tractors and ride-on mowers, that are responsible for around 12% of the council’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the proposal, zero or low emission alternatives would replace existing fleet vehicles that reach the end of their service, over the next four years.

A further £1m would be spent on electric charging infrastructure to keep the vehicles on the road.

Cllr Jack Hemingway, cabinet member for Climate Change and Environment, said: ‘Electric cars are a tried and tested technology that will allow our staff to continue offering the best service to residents. They bring with them the incredible benefits of protecting people’s health by reducing the number of harmful pollutants that are spread in the air from petrol and diesel engines and achieving our important goal of being carbon neutral.

‘Whilst we are delighted our small and medium vehicle fleet is going fully green, we are still working on finding the best clean energy solution for our larger fleet, such as bin wagons and gritters, which can perform to the required service standard and deliver value for money for the taxpayer.’

Funding for this green initiative would come from the Climate Change budget that was approved by cabinet to meet the objectives of the Climate Change Action Plan and adopted by the council in September 2020.