A LOCAL authority has launched its first pair of electric vehicles, for use in general council duties, as part of a trial to replace its diesel-fuelled fleet of vehicles.

Hambleton District Council has released two Nissan Leafs to carry out flytipping clearing, waste management and street cleaning work across the district.

The cars, which have been supplied by the local authority’s vehicle partner Specialist Fleet Services Ltd as part of a ten-year contract to supply and maintain the council's waste, recycling and street cleaning fleet.

Councillor Stephen Watson, portfolio holder for environmental health, waste and recycling at Hambleton District Council, said it is hoped the move will encourage residents and business-owners to consider using electric vehicles.

He said: “Technology has improved significantly in recent years, enabling us to enter into an agreement that can provide us with electric vehicles with a vision of running a percent electric fleet in the future.

“If we want to encourage residents to be more mindful of the effects their own vehicles have on our local environment, we must look at our own fleet and make changes.

“We should all recognise the importance of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels."

Cllr Watson said the Nissan vehicles presented an opportunity to show how staff are reducing the authority's carbon footprint.

He added: “I look forward to watching how this progresses.”

A spokesperson for Hambleton District Council said: "Waste and Street Scene have taken the vehicles on for duties that do not entail heavy work or particularly long distances, as trial to see if in the longer term it is feasible to run all the small vehicle fleet using electric.

"It is an long term aspiration to have an all-electric fleet, but there are no definite plans yet and all options will considered to ensure best value for the council and to fill operational needs, whilst ensuring environmental outcomes are considered."