Councils branded ‘clean air hypocrites’ as 92% of their fleets rely on diesel vehicles

Councils branded ‘clean air hypocrites’ as 92% of their fleets rely on diesel vehicles
A staggering 91.6% of UK councils’ vehicles have diesel engines.

A freedom of information request found that 61,045 diesel vehicles are in use across 320 councils in the UK. Some 62 fleets are made up entirely of diesel engines.

Authorities admitted to Auto Express that no “viable electric alternative” to the fuel exists in “the vast majority” of cases.

The motoring magazine revealed the figures and labelled the authorities enforcing low emission zones and looming diesel bans as “hypocrites”.

The government plans for all new vehicles to give off zero emissions by 2040, while a devolved Scottish government aims to end new petrol and diesel registrations by 2032.

Bristol City Council, who shared plans to ban all diesel vehicles by 2021, runs 369 diesel vehicles out of a total of 453 (81.5%). They recently confirmed plans to purchase 64 new diesel vans.

Similarly, 89% of vehicles used by London councils use diesel engines, despite the enforcing of a £12.50 daily charge as part of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

Currently 724 (15%) vehicles used by London councils fail to meet ULEZ criteria.

The charge does not apply to diesel vehicles that meet Euro 6 emissions standards.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents English and Welsh authorities, told Auto Express that: “councils are eager to switch to electric vehicles or low-emission alternatives where possible”.

“The vast majority of the types of specialist vehicles councils operate do not have viable electric alternatives because they don’t exist,” it added.

Northern Ireland proved to be the most dependent on diesel vehicles, as 98.6% of council fleets are powered by diesel.

Scottish councils are the least reliant on diesel, but 90.3% of their fleet is still made up of diesel vehicles.

A spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), said: “The figures provided show two things. First, a shift away from what has traditionally been a diesel fleet. Second, because of this, progress is being made towards decarbonising Local Authorities’ fleets.”

The percentage of electric vehicles (EVs) used by UK councils outnumbers their share across the general public.

EVs make up 2.75% of all UK council fleets compared with 0.25% of total registered vehicles in the UK.

What do you think about the UK's clean air zones? Perhaps you own a diesel vehicle and feel like you're being unfairly punished? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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