BURY Council has got two electric vans to add to its 250-plus vehicle fleet which already includes a zero-emissions sweeper and an electric tipper for collecting litter.

The vans are replacing diesel vehicles and will be used by the street cleaning and disability services, where the reduced emissions will have a greater impact.

Electric vehicles produce no exhaust pollution and are responsible for significantly fewer carbon emissions than their diesel equivalent.

It currently costs about £2.50 per 100 miles to charge an electrical vehicle and £16.50 per 100 miles for diesel fuel. It is estimated the two vehicles will travel about 8,000 miles a year, offering fuel savings of about £1,200 per year. Further savings will be made because no road tax is paid on these vehicles.

Cllr Alan Quinn, cabinet member for the environment, said: “Cutting back on carbon emissions from vehicles is an important part of tackling climate change, improving air quality and helping to create healthier communities.

“Unfortunately, these vans are the largest electric vehicle available, but, in view of the environmental benefits, our transport service will be evaluating all possible future uses for electrical or other alternative fuel vehicles.”

The vehicles are part of a pilot programme to examine the comparative maintenance and running costs of both types of vehicle. Currently, the cost of buying electric vehicles can be offset by the annual fuel saving and a £5,000 grant per vehicle from the Government.