Council's electric car fleet shrinks as green slogan branded '˜hot air'

The city council has been urged to accelerate plans to embrace green technology after it was revealed just 3 per cent of the authority's fleet is electric vehicles.

Saturday, 22nd September 2018, 6:00 am
Environmental Health Officer Angela Davis with one of the elecdtric vehicles at the City Chambers. Picture: Ian Georgeson

As of August 2018, Edinburgh council had only 25 electric vehicles. Four more electric vehicles are set to replace diesel vehicles in coming months.

The council had 27 electric vehicles on its books in 2015, indicating a slight reduction.

Green transport spokesperson Cllr Chas Booth said: “It’s clear that the council is making some progress in upgrading its vehicles to meet modern cleaner standards.

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“However, it’s also clear that progress on electric vehicles is much more modest, with numbers actually dropping slightly in recent years.

“There have been criticisms recently that Edinburgh is way behind other cities like Dundee in providing electric vehicle charging points. With so few of its own electric vehicles, maybe that explains why. So the city needs to do a lot more to embrace the electric vehicle transformation.

“The council should be leading from the front on electric vehicles.”

Earlier this year, the council imposed strict European emissions on taxi drivers, forcing them to meet Euro 5 or Euro 6 standards. But around 26 per cent of the council’s vehicles – some 235 vehicles – do not meet these rules.

The city council’s low emissions policy states no taxi or private hire car will be acceptable unless it meets Euro 5 or 6 standards. Vehicles more than a decade old are also set to be refused a licence.

Conservative transport spokesman Cllr Nick Cook said: “Despite claims to the contrary, Edinburgh Council has thus far produced little more than hot air when it comes to support for electric vehicles.

He added: “The fact the council is willing to impose strict emissions on taxi drivers, while not meeting said targets themselves, again shows an SNP-Labour council administration out of touch with the hard-working people of Edinburgh.”

The council will bring forward plans for increasing electric charging points across the city.

Transport and environment convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes said: “In terms of electric vehicles, as a council I think we should be leading from the front.

“There’s a report coming forward to the transport and environment committee next month which will indicate very clearly our direction of travel on that in terms of infrastructure provision. I think that will be quite a step forward for us.

“We are moving towards less from ownership and more towards hire arrangements. That allows us a greater degree of flexibility on how we respond to this. I expect to see more electric vehicles coming into our fleet through that route.”