Decarbonise the Council’s fleet and minimise grey fleet mileage whilst encouraging active travel through walking, cycling and public transport.
To meet Scottish Government climate change targets we must make sure that all our new fleet cars and vans should be zero emission from 2025, with all new HGVs reaching the same target by 2030.
Under our Transformation Strategy, we started our replacement programme in February 2019. As a result, thanks to funding from Transport Scotland 101 of our cars and small vans are now electric and we are on track for having a fully electric fleet by 2023.
High cost and load carrying requirements mean that our larger van fleet is not yet ready to be replaced by entirely electric vehicles. However we will replace 72 of these vans with the most efficient Euro 6 engine standard before being fully replaced by electric vans from 2026.
Employee grey mileage
To encourage our employees to reduce their dependence on fossil fuelled cars, we’ve also introduced an electric pool fleet and made electric bicycles available through the Active Travel Hub.
Having these available, increasing working from home and encouraging online meetings should reduce “grey mileage” and the Council’s carbon footprint. For employees own transport we also offer salary sacrifice Cycle to Work and Car Leasing Schemes which can provide affordable bikes and electric vehicles.
HGVs and buses
Zero emission HGVs are still developing. We are monitoring progress and costs and expect both electric and hydrogen variants to play a role in the future Council fleet. For the time being, we have transitioned all fossil fuel vehicles to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel which will reduce carbon emissions from these vehicles by up to 90%.
Transport in the community
Locally we’re developing our plans based on Transport Scotland’s National Transport Strategy which was published in 2020. As Scotland’s largest source of carbon emissions (37% in 2017), the figures for emissions have risen every year despite technological advances in engines. This is because traffic levels have continued to climb.
Transport only accounts for some 10% of the Council’s own carbon footprint but is the biggest polluter at an East Ayrshire wide level, accounting for 40% of our area’s emissions. We also know that over half of car journeys are relatively short (under 2 km). While it's important for the Council to lead by example by decarbonising our own fleet, we all need to change the way we travel if we are to cut our carbon footprint successfully.
Electric vehicle charging
To realise our ambitions to have all new vehicles on East Ayrshire roads emission free by 2030, it’s vital that we make sure these can be recharged quickly, easily and conveniently. To meet this challenge, Ayrshire Roads Alliance (ARA) has produced an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy and action plan.
This plan will:
- develop a widespread electric vehicle charging network to support communities, businesses and visitors using electric vehicles
- identify and provide solutions where no off-road parking exists
- work on solutions to improve air quality
Changing the way we travel
Since March 2020, with lockdowns and travel restrictions, air quality has improved significantly. People have reconnected with their local shops, and many more people are now walking and cycling than in previous years. Keeping up these positive benefits as restrictions are lifted now presents a major challenge.
Active travel plans
We have been working with Sustrans and ARA to improve existing walking and cycling routes and build new multi-use routes, connecting communities. Our aim is to make commuting, going to school, leisure and tourism, much safer and more enjoyable for people of all abilities and ages who walk, run, cycle or ride horses.
In Kilmarnock this includes the Kilmarnock Green Infinity Loop which will encompass 26km of active travel routes, green infrastructure and signage across the town by 2025. All of these projects are being brought together in a new East Ayrshire Active Travel Plan to encourage active travel throughout the area.
To encourage active travel and positive transport behaviours in our primary schools we launched our Mission to the Moon initiative in February 2023.
Catrine Primary School: School Street Project video
Pupils and staff at Catrine Primary School talk about their school being a School Street, encouraging active travel to and from school.
St Sophia's Primary School: School Street Project video
Pupils and staff at St Sophia's Primary School talk about their school being a School Street, encouraging active travel to and from school.
Improving public transport
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), the public transport authority for the West of Scotland, is currently developing a new Regional Transport Strategy (RTS). This will be informed by responses to their recent ‘Case for Change’ consultation, which recognises the significant decline in the use of bus services and the corresponding increase in train use as the preferred mode of public transport.
The strategy includes these key issues:
- transport emissions
- access for all
- regional connectivity
- active living
- public transport quality and integration
Locally, we’re working to improve access to public transport in our rural communities.
Working with key partners, such as Coalfield Community Transport, we’re aiming to extend the availability and use of community buses through the asset transfer of Council buses that are due to be replaced.
We will also engage with Stagecoach to develop a Bus Service Improvement Partnership (PDF 530Kb) which will improve the effectiveness and quality of existing bus services including looking at routes, frequency, acceptable fares and ticketing arrangements