The day after the first UN Environment Smog Day, where we remember the toll air pollution has on human health and lives, the leader of the Greens at Gloucestershire County Council Rachel Smith, reminded members at Shire Hall on Wednesday that the council must go further to reduce its own environmental impact.
“We’ve got to act and we’ve got to act now”, she said, proposing a motion that would ensure that the council committed to replacing 10% of the vehicles within its fleet with electric or low emission by 2019.
Cllr Rachel Smith added, “The UK government has been pitifully slow to act on climate change, and there has been no meaningful action on air pollution which is a travesty given the impact of air pollution on the most vulnerable in our society; this is an opportunity for the local authority to show leadership in this area. It is vital that we in opposition help raise the ambitions of this council”.
The motion, proposed by the Greens and seconded by the Lib Dems seeks to promote the use of electric vehicles across the county, in order to begin to tackle air pollution, and reduce carbon emissions.
As well as looking at the council’s own fleet of vehicles, the motion seeks encourage the use of electric and low emission vehicles through contractors delivering council-commissioned services, such as bus services, highways maintenance vehicles and school transport
By unanimously accepting the motion, the council now aims to engage with district councils to support the provision of publicly accessible EV charging points, for example in new housing developments.
Cllr Iain Dobie (Lib Dem) who seconded the motion said, “This is a start in moving away from dangerous diesel to safer alternatives. We had hoped for a 10% switch in the fleet to EV by 2019, but the full council have committed to 5% by 2020. The motion as a whole is a small but significant victory”.