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New council electric van out of action for months

 
Created on 12/11/2020 @ 07:30
A new electric van bought to help reduce Newtown Town Council's carbon footprint has been inoperable for months because of a major fault forcing it to continue using older diesel vehicles.

It is also impacting on ensuring its operatives can work efficiently during the Covid-19 situation as they had planned to keep one vehicle per employee to ensure safety, using other diesel vehicles at the same time.

It has emerged the new Renault van is awaiting parts from China via France and has hardly been used.

The council's Resources Committee will be told on Monday that Renault has only recently provided a courtesy vehicle.

However, the fault has impacted on the council's work to ensure its staff can  use separate vehicles during the coronavirus situation.

The council had planned to have one vehicle for each member of its operative staff who carry out maintenance and other work in the town.

In September, the committee said: "The committee resolves to continue the use of the diesel van in addition to the other two vehicles to enable social distancing for the outside staff until the MOT expires in December with a review of the situation to be undertaken at the November meeting.”

A report from the council's Operations Manager, said: "The  primary  need  for  the use  of  the  third vehicle  was  to  help  reduce  the  contact  between  the outdoor operativesas per the risk assessment. In practice this has not happened because the new EV van has had a major fault on it that is taking months to sort out.

"With repeated requests to Renault to get the EV van back ASAP or to have a courtesy van while we wait landingon deaf ears,I have more recently threatened them with legal action. I still await their response."

The council had wanted to take the diesel van off the road because of the likely costs of maintaining it.

"The  van  on  a  good  daywould  fetch  about  £500  to £750  were  we  to  sell  is  but  a  lot  less  with  no MOT, however if repairs over and above the cost to MOT go higherthan £400 then it would not be practicable  to keep  this  vehicle  any  longer  and  we  should sell  it  for  the  best  possible  price (probably a scrap price of £200or less).

"The question the resources committee need to ask is: IS IT REASONABLE AND PRACTICABLE TO SPEND UP TO £400 TO GET THE SMALL VAN THROUGH AN MOT,PLUS TAX IT AT £21 PER MONTH (OR £126 FOR 6 MONTHS OR £240 FOR THE YEAR), TO PROVIDE AN EXTRA LEVEL OF PROTECTION TO THE OUTDOOR OPERATIVES FROM EXPOSURE TO COVID-19?"

The report also stated that due to a member of the operatives team having Covid-19 earlier in the year, this had eased a situation on the use of the vehicles.

Photo: A Renault electric van (Photo by Renault)