REVEALED: Cheshire Police have just three fully-electric cars
By Alex Greensmith
15th Jan 2023 | Local News
A Freedom of Information request has revealed the latest figures of Cheshire Police-owned electric cars.
Cheshire Police want to be carbon neutral in 17 years time.
To help them achieve this, one method could be using low or zero emission vehicles. This approach was even recognised in the 2021 environmental plan signed off by Cheshire Police Commissioner John Dwyer.
Electric vehicles are low emission vehicles, and are being bought by police forces across the country.
However, Cheshire Police only have three electric cars in use across the whole county*.
The Freedom of Information request also confirmed that Cheshire Police have two hybrid cars, which are part-fuel part-electric.
They also confirmed they have spent £74,182.04 on electric cars in the last three years, averaging at £24,727.346 or just one electric vehicle per year.
If this trend of one a year continues until 2040, it will not replace the whole fleet, but it is unclear whether this would be enough to meet their 'carbon neutral' goals.
Cheshire Constabulary's fleet of vehicles emitted 3553 tonnes of CO2 in 2017/18, this reduced to 2669 in 2020/21.
However, these figures must be taken with a pinch of salt when you consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns in this period. Figures for 2021-22 are yet to be released to the public.
2021 police data reveals there are a total of 725 vehicles of all-kinds in Cheshire Constabulary's fleet. But with the UK government set to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, expect more electric police cars and trucks to be bought in the coming years.
And indeed, a 2021 document by Cheshire's Police commissioner - and launched at the same time as the 2040 neutral target - reveals ambitions to "Identify opportunities to deploy electric and hybrid vehicles [and] evaluate the current pilot providing electric vehicles, and develop expansion options".
Tim Sykes, Head of Vehicle Fleet Services for Cheshire Constabulary said: "Cheshire Constabulary has an Environmental Strategy and a Fleet Strategy as mentioned. These strategies and the trackers against each are reviewed every year.
"Our plan is to continue our carbon emission reduction over the coming years is in line with the PCC's carbon reduction targets.
"In Vehicle Fleet Services, we are working towards the government's Road to Zero plan. There has been a recent acceleration of this plan and now all purely petrol and diesel cars will no longer be on sale after 2030 with Hybrid following five years later.
"In line with this plan, Cheshire Constabulary will be transitioning to zero emission vehicles over the coming years. The process is a managed one, keeping pace with the installation of charging infrastructure within the Constabulary's estate and managing the requirement for high performance vehicles under arduous use.
"There is a substantial initial cost for the transition to zero emission vehicles and we aim to manage the spend responsibly, whilst at the same time balancing the ever-increasing costs of front line policing and those priorities for the people of Cheshire.
"The first vehicles to transition to zero emission, are our low performance non-response vehicles. This process has already started with numbers increasing dramatically over the next few years as and when these vehicles become due for replacement.
"We are aware of the substantial carbon impact involved in the manufacture of new vehicles in both production and raw materials especially those needed for EV battery production and accordingly we will not replace our existing vehicles with zero emission ones until they are actually due replacement to reduce that impact.
"We will undoubtably still own some legacy petrol and diesel vehicles beyond 2030 but all our new vehicle purchases will be zero emission by then."
John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire said:
"The Police and Crime Plan outlines my ambition for the Constabulary to be carbon neutral by 2040, and the Environmental and Fleet strategies outline how we are working towards this.
"A key part of this is transitioning to zero emission vehicles, which will happen in the coming years. It is a huge undertaking, with many priorities to balance, but the Constabulary's Fleet Services are working hard to ensure that we meet our environmental commitments and the need to protect the public.
"Progress towards this aim is reviewed as part of my scrutiny process and I want to ensure that the right investments are being made at the right time when it comes to zero emission vehicles."
Despite the single digits of electric cars that they own and use, Cheshire Police still rank in the top half for the size of their electric motor fleet nationwide.
According to Auto Express FOI, Cheshire Police has the 17th highest fleet of electric vehicles in the UK, out of a total of 45 forces.
27 forces across the county have electric vehicles, leaving 18 UK police forces without a single electric vehicle.
As a result, Cheshire Police are slightly ahead of the curb in this respects.
Additional Macclesfield Nub News FOI data reveals that Cheshire Police have twelve electric car charging ports across the county.
Last year, British police forces trialled using Tesla cars which brought both financial and environmental benefits. However, Cheshire Police was not one of the forces to be lucky to test the vehicles of the Elon Musk-owned company.
*As of October 2022
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