Children using Nottingham City Council’s passenger transport service are now benefiting from cleaner, greener minibuses.
The council recently took delivery of the first five electric minibuses to be used by a local authority in the UK.
Councillor Adele Williams, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport, said: “We’ve been concerned about the impact of transporting special educational needs children to school at peak times, due to the harmful emissions from the van and the effect on the children’s health.
“Loading these vehicles with children who are wheelchair users is always a concern due to the time the vehicle has to idle while keeping it warm in the winter months. All the time the vehicles are throwing out emissions at the level of our passengers.
“As the type and standard of electric vehicles has increased over recent years, we were pleased to find an electric minibus that our fleet team felt was suitable. A lot of these children have respiratory issues and therefore to have a zero emissions vehicle collecting them is fantastic.”
The council worked with LDV, the minibus manufacturer, and Courtside Conversions to design and build a vehicle to comfortably accommodate the specific needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities who attend Oakfield School.
So far the council has replaced five of the high dependency nine-seater minibuses, with plans to replace the remaining four if the vehicles are a success.
In addition, one of the buses has solar panels on the roof to help recharge the battery, as part of a pilot scheme to reduce the time needed to recharge at the depot.
The buses will be maintained by Nottingham Electric Vehicle Services – the first service centre for electric vehicles run by a local authority. Once open later this year, it will not only maintain the council’s growing fleet of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs), but support business and private vehicles too.
It follows the council’s purchase last year of the first electric street sweepers and cage tippers in the UK, which are now regularly in use across neighbourhoods and the city centre.
Converting its 467-strong fleet is part of the council’s plan to improve air quality in the city. More than 30% of our vehicles are now ultra low emission.