Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Council rejects electric vehicle

HENLEY Town Council is set to buy a new diesel truck for its parks services staff despite criticism that it would be bad for the environment.

It needs to replace a Toyota Hilux, which was bought in 2010 for almost £15,000, as it has suffered repeated mechanical problems.

Members of the council’s finance strategy and management committee voted five to four in favour of buying a Nissan Cabstar for £21,059.

Four members of Henley Residents’ Group voted in favour together with Independent Conservative Lorraine Hillier to defeat the four Conservatives who voted against.

Liz Jones, the council’s accountant, had recommended buying the Cabstar and scrapping the Hilux, which would earn the council up to £2,000.

She said that leasing a vehicle for four or five years would be almost £8,000 more expensive than buying one and an electric vehicle equivalent to the Cabstar would cost about £50,000.

Conservative councillor Julian Brookes said: “We should be looking at electric or hybrid and not buy diesel at this time.”

Councillor Hillier said: “We were not happy with a diesel but it has the power to do the work needed.”

Councillor Will Hamilton (Con) said the Cabstar could be converted to run on electric power as well as diesel by a company in Bampton, West Oxfordshire.

He added: “This council should practise what it preaches.”

Councillor Ian Reissmann (HRG) said: “The parks staff said an electrical vehicle would not be suited to their services.

“I want to see air quality improve and to see us lead the way on it but there is no practical way for an electrical vehicle. Although I don’t like the decision, it is the only one open to us.”

The parks services staff look after green spaces, including Mill and Marsh Meadows, Makins recreation ground, off Greys Road, and Freeman’s Meadow, off Northfield End.

A final decision will be made by the full council at its meeting on Wednesday.

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