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Published: 18:07, 14 February 2020
| Updated: 14:47, 17 February 2020
Kent County Council is to scrap its gas-guzzling cars used by the chairman and senior councillors as part of a drive to curb its carbon footprint.
The authority says it intends to replace three high-mileage Volvos with either a hybrid electric car or a completely electric vehicle.
Cllr Peter Oakford (Con), deputy leader of the council, said the move would contribute significantly towards the council's target to curb its carbon footprint.
The three cars are used mainly to ferry the council's leader, chairman, and other senior county councillors on official business.
The cost of running the three cars is around £29,000 a year, according to figures from 2018.
Cllr Oakford revealed the proposal at KCC’s budget setting meeting - ironically, after the Conservatives used their majority to resist opposition calls to spend £250,000 installing more charging points across the county.
"We will reduce the number of cars in service and replace the current three high mileage gas-guzzling Volvo's for a single modern vehicle, reducing our carbon footprint significantly," he said.
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"We're currently looking at both high MPG low emission hybrid and electric vehicles as we want to assess the total carbon footprint of the vehicle over the life from manufacture through to when they are 10-years old, taking into consideration all aspects."
Opposition Liberal Democrat county councillors earlier tabled a motion at KCC's budget setting meeting proposing £250,000 be taken from the £1 million climate emergency fund to pay for more charging points.
Cllr Rob Bird, the party's opposition leader, said government figures showed there were just 247 public EV (Electric Vehicle) charging points in Kent.
Cllr Ian Chittenden, the Liberal Democrat's opposition spokesman, said: "The provision of broadband in rural areas was ignored for many years while thriving in the centres of our large towns.
"Many rural areas still have very poor service years later. We cannot allow the same to happen with EV charging points.
Listen to KentOnline's politics podcast discuss KCC's move to reduce their carbon footprint
"We must do everything we can to reduce the increasing air pollution that we experience every day in Kent."
Cllr Rory Love (Con) deputy cabinet member for economic development, said while he agreed with the principle, KCC was not the authority to provide help.
"District and borough councils would be the best people to be working with; they have some of the levers that we don’t such as their own car parks where these can be installed," he said.
KentOnline earlier reported sales of electric cars accelerated by more than 40% across Kent and Medway.
More by this authorPaul Francis