Ambitious eco plan for Birmingham council
04 February 2010
Author: Tristan Young
Birmingham City Council has launched one of the most ambitious go-green plans of any local authority. The plan includes fleet measures such as only buying electric or LPG vehicles from 2015 and a commitment to installing a plug-in charging network capable of supporting 500 vehicles.
Birmingham City Council runs a fleet of 1249 vehicles and hopes its buying power will pressure manufacturers into providing greener options.
The climate change statement, made last month and called The Birmingham Declaration, also includes a commitment to buying 50% of its electricity from renewable sources and to reduce energy consumption by 25% both by 2015.
Sandy Taylor, Birmingham's head of climate change, said the fleet target could be higher than this 25% figure.
"We'll have more details on fleet when we've introduced our new vehicle purchasing agreement, which is due by the end of the year."
The plan to include LPG alongside all-electric cars is surprising given LPG's decrease in popularity within the fleet market. According to fuel card giant Arval, LPG volumes dropped by 16% in 2009 on top of a 12% fall in 2008. However, Taylor did not rule out the possibility the green plan could include hybrids and diesel vehicles.
"We're looking at low-carbon options. We used LPG in the document at shorthand for this."
The new agreement will cover both outright purchase and hire vehicles, according to Taylor.
Paul Tilsley, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "Birmingham, over the last few years, has developed a strong reputation as a national leader on the issues of climate change and sustainability.
"We are now seeking to take that onto the next level with The Birmingham Declaration, which we think is something that other local authorities could adopt in part or whole as they attempt to tackle environmental matters.
"The combined purchasing power of local government, coupled with the objectives outlined in this declaration can give manufacturers the confidence to invest in green technologies, to develop new products and to therefore create fresh employment opportunities that would have never existed before.