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Green future for Met

Date: 23 August 2006

The Metropolitan Police has reaffirmed its commitment to environmentally friendly motoring by taking delivery of 70 Honda Civic Hybrids in a leasing deal with Lex Emergency Vehicles. Another 47 vehicles will be delivered before the end of the year.

Speaking at the recent National Association of Police Fleet Managers Conference in Wiltshire, the Met's transport boss Stuart Middleton said: "In the past we have generally been guilty of paying inadequate attention to the environment."

"But in our defence," he added, "we move very quickly with technology advances, since we cover high mileages in a short period of time and change vehicles frequently. We transferred from Euro3 to Euro4 very quickly, for example.

"Now the Met has a pragmatic view, we try and use as green a car as possible, but there is a balancing act between being socially responsible to the environment and the cost to the taxpayer."

With hybrid the buzzword for environmental do-gooding, Middleton leapt to counter accusations the 117-car deal (touted as the largest hybrid deal ever), could be a PR exercise for the London-based police force.

"This is no PR stunt, but part of an environmental drive organised by the Greater London Authority (GLA). The reason we are leasing for two years rather than buying is that the technology is evolving and we want to keep up-to-date," added Middleton.

The cars will be used by community support officers rather than rapid response units and they will help meet self-imposed carbon targets set to be introduced by an Energy Savings Trust fleet audit.

"From the audit we now have realistic measured targets to reduce the amount of carbon our fleet produces," he said.

"By 2010 we will step closer to reaching our long-term goal of a hydrogen-powered fleet by running four hydrogen-powered vehicles on our fleet, which is part of an EU and GLA initiative."