Posted: Sat 24th Feb 2024

Wrexham Councillor Raises Concerns Over Safety of Electric Vehicles

North Wales news and information

A WREXHAM councillor has raised concerns over the safety of electric vehicles as the local authority looks to reduce its carbon footprint.
Members of Wrexham Council’s executive board this week agreed to carry out a review of its fleet of 340 vehicles to reduce their impact on the environment.
Data released by the authority shows the collective mileage of its vehicles stood at around 1.5 million miles during the 2022/23 financial year, resulting in around 1,500 tonnes of greenhouse gases being emitted.
The council declared a climate and ecological emergency in September 2019 and has been exploring a number of ways to cut down on carbon emissions.
In October 2021, the council announced it had taken delivery of its first electric refuse vehicle and was last year awarded nearly £1.9m to create more electric vehicle charging facilities in Wrexham.
However, Cllr Paul Pemberton, chair of the authority’s homes and environment scrutiny committee, has questioned the safety of EV vehicles.
Mr Pemberton, who owns a used car dealership in the village of Rhosllanerchrugog, said it should continue with efforts to use alternative fuels such as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) instead.
Speaking at Tuesday’s (February 20, 2024) meeting, he said: “I wouldn’t have an electric vehicle on my forecourt. I just don’t like them and they’re not safe.
“I know other people swear by them, but I don’t like them and I think we ought to be moving over to HVO as much as we can.”
The council has been piloting the use of HVO to replace diesel in large goods vehicles over the last few months.
Officials said winter maintenance vehicles such as gritters had mainly been used in the trial, with results showing a 90 per cent reduction in emissions.
The Welsh Government has set local authorities the target of transitioning their fleet to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2025 for smaller vehicles and 2030 for larger ones.
While the council is pushing to increase the number of electric vehicles it owns, a report to senior councillors said the cost of charging infrastructure and a lack of capacity on the electric grid were posing difficulties.
It stated: “Work undertaken in 2021 by the Wales Energy Service suggest that to charge an equivalent number of EV vehicles, the council would need to install around 250 charging bays at an approximate cost of £450,000.
“Lack of available grid capacity means that significant deployment of charging infrastructure is progressing, but has to be considered alongside the need to upgrade the grid and cover the associated costs this entails.
“In parallel to work on upgrade and installation of EV charging infrastructure, alternative fuelling options are also being investigated.
“Pilot trials of the use of HVO have been undertaken on LGV vehicles. Further roll out trials are being planned, with expansion into other service areas.
“The council has never had a definitive fleet strategy but given the challenges we currently face in this area, a council-wide approach is urgently required.”

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter

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