Reading Borough Council approves plans for three-year fleet replacement programme

Reading Borough Council has approved plans for a three-year fleet replacement programme which aims to support the council’s ambition to move to net zero.

The plan will include the introduction of cargo bikes and e-bikes.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Environment, Planning and Transport, added: “The industry is relatively new and so balancing what is available on the market with our own needs is a challenge but I believe we have got a good programme.”

The programme does not aim to replace vehicles on a like-for-like basis.

The council will assess whether service needs can be met in a different way, such as reducing vehicle sizes or using electric bikes or cargo bikes, reports the Reading Chronicle.

Councillor Adele Barnett-Ward, lead member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said: “Officers will be looking at where transport can be achieved in a different way. We’re looking at active travel, public transport, cargo bikes and so on. It’s not automatically swapping out a petrol vehicle for an electric vehicle when there is another way of achieving that.

“And I really welcome that because just swapping fossil vehicles for the same number of electric vehicles is not going to be enough globally to tackle the Climate Emergency so it’s fantastic that Reading is leading on that.”

RBC declared a Climate Emergency in February 2019 before developing a carbon plan for the following five years (2020-25) which includes targets to reduce corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2025 and reduce fossil fuel use by 50% by 2025.

The Diesel fleet currently makes up 16% of RBC’s corporate carbon footprint and the council says both targets are heavily dependent on replacing fossil-fuel powered vehicles, particularly refuse collection vehicles, to electric vehicles.

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