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Council goes green with electric vehicle drive

Swansea Council will soon have 40 electric vehicles in its fleet.

Andrea Lewis electric car

Due to start arriving later this year, this means the council will have more electric vehicles on the road than any other local authority in Wales.

The electric vehicles will be used by departments including waste management, highways, facilities and corporate building and property services, who are very regularly on the road in the course of their work. 

Work is also ongoing alongside local authority, university and health board partners in Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire to explore the potential to introduce more charging points for electric vehicles across South West Wales to benefit the public.

The new council vehicles will be part-funded by a UK Government grant. 

Cllr Andrea Lewis, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, Energy and Building Services, said: "When agreed, this order will increase the amount of electric vehicles in the council's fleet to about 5%, but we're committed to ordering more in future to make sure we continue doing our bit to help Swansea cut its carbon footprint. This is vitally important because we should all be concerned with making Swansea a greener, more sustainable and more environmentally aware city for our children and generations to come. With the Welsh Government having set an 80% greenhouse gas emission target, it's pleasing to see Swansea Council setting the right example.

"Having now been the proud personal owner of a zero carbon emission, 100% electric car for the last year or so, I can't speak highly enough about this kind of technology. It's both viable and reliable, so we're also continuing to work alongside our partners to explore the potential to introduce more charging points for vehicles of this kind across South West Wales as a whole in years to come to benefit the public.

"Although electric vehicles are more expensive to buy than diesel vehicles at the moment, a UK Government grant is in place to help with the council purchase. Electric vehicles are also far cheaper to run, so the overall cost, when running costs are also taken into account, is comparable with diesel vehicles, while also being much more environmentally friendly.

"Increasing the amount of electric vehicles in Swansea is one of the ways we're showing how seriously we take our commitment to sustainable transport and the preservation of our stunning environment."

To showcase electric and hydrogen vehicle technology, the council held a Clean Air Roadshow in Castle Square earlier this year. BMW, Renault, Tesla, Mitsubishi, KIA, Toyota, Audi, My Big Green Fleet and Riversimple were among the electric vehicle exhibitors at the event, which attracted about 6,000 people.

Cllr Lewis said: "We're doing all we can to raise the profile of electric vehicles and the use of renewable energy, which is why we're continuing to make the case so strongly for the world's first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay.

"If the UK Government approves this major plan, then it would build on some of the great work that's already taken place in Swansea, including the replacement of the city's streetlights with energy saving LED lamps and the use of solar panels in buildings like Guildhall to generate electricity."

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