Carbon Management Plan 2022

Fleet and travel


Switching from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles will be a tough task, but one we are ready to take on. Technology is advancing quickly in the automotive industry, and it is vital that any large scale investment in alternative technology represents value for money, reliability of operation and delivers the emission reductions forecast over the life of operations.

Therefore, the transition of the council's nearly 400 vehicles to non-fossil fuel alternatives will be a managed one, in order to ensure we are offering the same reliable service to residents 100% of the time and as contractual leasing arrangements expire. We will need to follow the Government's delivery plan for transitioning to zero emission cars and vans, with the expectation that from 2030 the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be phased out, with larger or specialist vehicles following later.

Therefore, our focus will be informed by a report currently being produced by the Energy Saving Trust, which will consider how best the council decarbonise its fleet. It is expected this will focus on transitioning to electric vehicles for all vehicles where feasible. Exceptions will only be where towing or load constraints, or new technology is cost prohibitive. In addition, any hired vehicles needed to support our fleet will not rely on fossil fuels, unless it is requirement of the service being delivered.

Whilst technology for heavy good vehicles (HGV) is still evolving, there are opportunities for the council to pilot new and developing technology, especially for refuse vehicles and tippers. Where low emission vehicles are not suitable due to operational requirements, alternative low carbon fuel sources will also be considered, such as Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), which offer significant carbon reductions. Switching to low carbon fuels will require consideration of the cost benefit of doing so, including supply chain risks, vehicle warranty, and maintenance.

The inclusion of our staff will be vital in making this transition a success, and full training to operate new vehicles will be provided. Sessions to combat anxiety over electric vehicles will also be undertaken, to address range anxiety, charging protocol etiquette, and driving automatic vehicles. The success of this plan will be measured by calculating the total diesel or petrol usage per annum.

Short term (1 to 2 years)

  • Energy Savings Trust – Fleet De-carbonisation Report
  • New fleet replacements consider zero emission vehicles and non-fossil fuel alternatives where practicable
  • Conduct pilots of electric HGV vehicles for refuse collection rounds.
  • Introduce staff awareness as part of driver trainer and assessment courses
  • Review the cost benefit analysis of introducing alternative low carbon fuels supplies for the council’s bunkered fuel supply
  • Review and fit charging infrastructure on key sites

Medium term (2 to 5 years)

  • Replace leased vehicles with carbon neutral alternatives where possible. This will likely be possible from 2027 onwards due to contractual commitments
  • Ensure all hired cars and vans are carbon neutral
  • Explore replacing or improving the carbon efficiency of specialist vehicles, such as gritters and refuse collectors
  • Infrastructure ready and in place for carbon neutral fleet
  • Driver training operating and maintaining new technology

Long term (5 years plus)

  • Carbon neutral fleet
  • Consider alternatives where practical for specialist vehicles – based on new technology availability


Within North Northamptonshire Council, travel is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions. The work we do requires frequent travel around North Northamptonshire, in order to provide the local community with a high-quality service. Visiting locations is vital in our line of work, but as we look to reduce emissions across the county, this source of emissions will also be addressed.

In order to achieve our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030, we will challenge ourselves on the need, frequency, and mode of travel. In order to reduce the carbon emissions, we must reduce our journeys, and find ways of working that are less carbon intensive.

North Northamptonshire Council will address unnecessary journeys, and will work towards more innovative methods of planning the travel we must accommodate. Departments within the council will look to revise their current working patterns, with the aim to become less vehicle focused. With this at the forefront of what we do, we are looking forward to seeing what kind of new technologies we can implement in order to improve the way we work, and therefore, lower the carbon emissions occurring from travel. In order to measure our success towards this goal, we will be tracking the total mileage claims in the financial year.

Short term (1 to 2 years)

  • New ways of working through Future Ways of Working Strategy – adopting a hybrid model of working
  • look to enhance management responsibilities through appraisal process and monitoring
  • commission a grey fleet review to produce recommendations on reducing business travel emissions
  • review and update of related council policies for business travel
  • low carbon courses available for driving, electric scooter and bicycles.

Medium term (2 to 5 years)

  • ​​Support for cycling to work scheme and other low carbon salary sacrifice schemes to be reviewed and new approaches to encourage use will be trialled
  • local infrastructure for staff travel introduced (e.g. EV charging points)
  • commuting – staff and members actively encouraged to low carbon commute
  • actions for Grey Fleet Review
  • a sustainable travel plan for all work locations will be in place.

Long term (5 years plus)

  • No grey fleet emissions – approach and policy to be established.

Last updated 06 January 2023