Plugging services together – and saving money

PLUGGING IN: These new Nissan Leaf electric cars save money and are being shared with partners across the borough.
PLUGGING IN: New electric cars save money and are being shared with partners across the borough.

THIS WEEK saw the exciting arrival of seven new electric neighbourhood patrol vehicles which you will soon be seeing in action across the borough.

These eco-friendly Nissan LEAF cars will start to replace some of our now ageing fleet.

The reduction in carbon emissions they offer will also help improve air quality on our streets – so it’s a definite win-win all round for Oldham.

This is part of our renewal process for council vehicles which is all about going ‘back to basics’ and ending the days of expensive lease deals.

We reviewed all areas of spend when we came into control of the council and it was very clear that the cost of such contracts simply don’t provide good value for money.

Although we still hire in some vehicles when it is more cost effective, the chances are that if you see a council-branded vehicle now – from bin trucks to road sweepers – it will be owned by the taxpayers of Oldham. Saving money is always a good thing.

As an added boost to the local economy we were also delighted to be able to purchase the vehicles from Westway Nissan on St Mary’s Way.

Clearly they won by offering the best deal but it is great to see the public pound benefiting Oldham firms. The only real effort on our part is making local companies aware of upcoming tender opportunities – then it’s over to them to offer the best package to the taxpayer.

Each of our six districts will have use of one of these electric cars which will be booked on a ‘pool’ arrangement by staff across teams using the same vehicle. The seventh one will be made available for our Enforcement Team who deal with matters like flytipping and gather evidence that could lead to prosecutions against criminal activity that blights our borough.

As part of our approach to co-operative working with partner organisations these vehicles will also be shared with Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue officers who will use them as patrol vehicles.

To take account of the harsh weather we sometimes endure in these parts we’ve also purchased two 4×4 vehicles which will again be shared across the council, police and fire service to promote further efficient use of public assets.

These electric vehicles are part of the council’s driving commitment to green transport. They have no tailpipe emissions and produce less carbon dioxide than their petrol and diesel counterparts.

In tandem with our work with partners across Greater Manchester, Oldham is also committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 48 per cent by 2020 – an ambitious target – so we are leading by example here and hoping others choose to plug in.

Through the Greater Manchester Electric Vehicle (GMEV) scheme, electric vehicles can now be charged up at several locations across the borough. There are already five charging points in Oldham Town Centre and another six across the districts. Details of all charging points across Greater Manchester can be found here.

The running costs on these cars are very economical with free road tax and, in some cases, free battery charging, so they represent a very cost-effective alternative to traditional fleet vehicles.

The cars show our commitment to the environment and value for money then – but also to working together with other organisations at a local level.

Our 30 manifesto pledges for a Fairer Oldham were clear that we would deliver investment in electric vehicles but would also work to bring council, police and fire and rescue staff together in one location in your area.

We believe this will improve communication, promote better sharing of resources and mean better services for you.

Many people still think of electric cars as something rather futuristic but it may surprise you to know they’ve actually been around for more than a century.

It was AmericanWilliam Morrison who built the first proper electric vehicle in 1891. This was capable of a top speed of 14 miles per hour and led to electric cabs hitting the streets of New York in 1897.

The introduction in 1908 of the Model T Ford then saw mass production of petrol powered cars surging ahead and led to the demise of electric cars in the 1920s.

It was not until the 1960s – as concerns about air pollution rose – that the electric vehicle debate came back onto the table and it has taken a long time to get to a point where we now see vehicles like Nissan LEAF in mass production.

PROGRESS: Our new Nissan Leaf car vs. the 1960s Enfield thunderbolt prototype electric car.

As you can see from this picture (above), the new vehicles are considerably better than the Enfield 8000, a prototype electric vehicle which was ahead of its time when around 100 were built by the United Kingdom Electricity Council in 1966.

It wouldn’t be right to blog about cars without mentioning the return of Oldham’s Vintage Classic Car Show this Sunday.

This is taking place on High Street in the town centre between 10am and 3pm.

Why not pay a visit, enjoy looking at some of the classic cars from years gone by, chat to other enthusiasts, take in the music and entertainment and do some shopping. You can read more about the event by clicking here.

More importantly, on the same day we also have a Civic Procession and service to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War I.

The parade, which sets off from the New Radcliffe Street car park at 1.30pm (next to the Tommyfield pub) will be joined by ex-service and voluntary organisations, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the Mayor of Oldham and invited dignitaries.

The service at Oldham Parish Church (starting at 2pm) will feature a performance from the Oldham Music Centre Youth Choir and a ceremonial Guard of Honour up the church steps.

We’re encouraging people to line the streets and show your support for service personnel past and present on the day. It’s all part of our commitment to honouring the contribution that Oldham people made to the war effort.

You can find out more about Sunday’s event here and you can also visit the new ‘Oldham Remembers’ website which is now live at www.oldhamremembers.org.uk

Thanks for listening,

Jim

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