Local authorities could be clubbing together to bulk buy electric vehicles, a council chief has said.
At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny committee on Monday, June 5 councillors were given an update on how the authority is setting out on its journey to become a Net Zero council by 2030.
While the Welsh Government has put local authorities in the 2030 Net Zero vanguard - everyone else will be expected to be carbon neutral by 2050.
The hope is that the example from councils all across Wales will rub off on everyone else.
With six and a half years to go councillors were told that Powys would be looking to implement a series of “climate action plans” to decarbonise council buildings, land use, procurement, governance, mobility and transport.
A skeleton plan for decarbonising mobility and transport has an emphasis on moving to electric vehicles.
As well as buying the costly vehicles, electric charging infrastructure will also need to be installed in council office sites and depots - which will all incur a hefty cost.
Powys corporate fleet senior manager, John Forsey said: “There is some innovative and exciting work going on across local authorities in Wales on fleet replacement.
“We’re starting to talk to other local authorities about pooling budgets and collaborating on getting a bigger number of vehicles with our suppliers.”
He added that private firms had “swamped” the market and taken the limited supply of vehicles.
Mr Forsey said “This is really exciting – I can’t ever remember talking about pooling budgets to get better resources before.
“This issue has gone massively up the agenda.”
Cllr Glyn Preston pointed out that the plan before the councillors had all the actions on the to do list rated green.
Cllr Preston said: “I’m just wondering if it’s overly optimistic or not ambitious enough.
“Does it accurately reflect the progress that’s been made?"
Improvement and change programme manager, Paul Wozencraft said: “We’re looking to bring the document back in six months.
“Then we’ll have more target dates, and we can monitor how we’re getting along.
“This action plan is in the very early stages, as time goes on, we’ll have a much better handle of how we’re progressing – and the statuses will start changing.”
Cllr Bryan Davies said: “The cost is my main concern, we still have to provide services to the public whether it’s education, leisure centres, recycling or roads.
“We already have roads that don’t need traffic calming at they need resurfacing as that budget has been cut.
“Are the Welsh Government going to give us some (funding)?
“It’s not an easy task to come up with these answers."
He believed another difficult part is explaining to residents why the council needs to do all this work, when their concern is getting “roads cleared” if it’s snowing.
Committee chairwoman, Cllr Angela Davies said: “The finance is always going to be the challenge as we need that out of the box thinking and behavioural change."