PORTLAND Town Council is looking to a greener future by upgrading one of its gardening vehicles to a new electric vehicle.

The new Renault Kangoo ZE - or Sparky as ‘she’ has been affectionately named - will be the primary mode of transport for the council’s busy gardening team as they go about their usual duties on the island.

With a range of 143 miles, Sparky’s 44kW power unit offsets an average of 240 miles per month of previous diesel vehicle use. The decision to go electric not only saves the council money on the increasing cost of fossil fuel, but more importantly strengthens the council’s green credentials and its commitment to become carbon-neutral.

Lee Jones, head gardener at Portland Town Council said: “We can nip around all over the island and never need to worry about filling up. A full charge usually lasts the whole week.”

Portland councillor Pete Roper added: “Electric isn’t just the future, it’s right now. That’s why Portland Town Council has invested in its first 100 per cent electric fleet vehicle for use by its gardening team. Having recently replaced all of our petrol-powered gardening tools with battery powered devices, the acquisition of an electric vehicle demonstrates our move away from the use of fossil fuels.

"When the technology is available our larger diesel-powered truck will also be replaced with an appropriate electric vehicle.”

It follows a declaration by Portland Town Council to support the Government's National Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill earlier this year.

At their council meeting on January 20, Portland Town Councillors unanimously voted to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill - which at the time was awaiting a second reading in Parliament.

Having first declared a ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency’ in June 2019, Portland councillors also supported Dorset Council’s own declaration, and contributed comments and observations to Dorset Council's strategy consultation.

Commenting at the time Portland town councillors Giovanna Lewis and Pete Roper spoke in support of the proposal.

Cllr Lewis said: "This new legislation is important for local people, the nation, and the planet."

Cllr Roper said: "We may be only one small council, but our voice is one among many and it will count."