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Councils are the leading buyers of alternative fuelled vehicles, according to figures for the Energy Saving Trust....
Councils are the leading buyers of alternative fuelled vehicles, according to figures for the Energy Saving Trust.

Fifteen councils are buying a total of 202 alternative fuelled vehicles through Powershift, an initiative funded by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and run by the Energy Saving Trust. The scheme is intended to create a sustainable market for alternatively fuelled vehicles by bringing together different bodies to buy vehicles in bulk, thereby cutting prices.

If the cost is still more than the petrol-engined equivalent, Powershift repays half the difference.

Last week it was announced that councils were buying 202 of the 318 vehicles being bought through the initiative. The remainder are being bought by bodies such as bus and coach firms, couriers, fuel suppliers and road hauliers.

The vehicles will be powered by natural gas, liquified petroleum gas or electricity.

The total value of the vehicles being bought by councils is around£14 million. They include refuse trucks, buses and delivery vans.

Powershift said it was obvious that local authorities were taking the lead in using alternative fuelled vehicles.

'It is clear that alternative fuelled vehicles will not be alternative for long,' said manager Jonathan Murray.

'This joint initiative between government and the private sector is working as a partnership role model. It is particularly significant at a time when the government is developing a blueprint for an integrated transport policy.'

For any councils interested in applying to Powershift for a subsidy, the deadline for the next phase of funding is 31 October. There will be a further tranche of grants next year.

For further information, call: 0345 277200.

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