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Five UK Local Authorities Delivering Sustainable Initiatives

Across the UK, councils are leading the drive to net zero. Here we look at how five local authorities are delivering sustainable initiatives.

grants for evs

The electric vehicle (EV) transition continues to gain momentum across the UK, with local councils spearheading efforts towards more sustainable transport and travel. Transitioning to EV forms only a part of the work the public sector is doing to reach its climate goals.  

In this article, we highlight the great work of 5 UK councils, paying attention to local authorities that are: 

  • Investing in EVs for their fleets and developing comprehensive public charging infrastructure 
  • Implementing other sustainable initiatives to help meet their net zero targets. 


Oxford City Council: UK’s first zero emission zone

Oxford City Council is pioneering the concept of Zero Emission Zones (ZEZ). A UK first, its ZEZ covers several streets in Oxford city centre, and is part of an ambitious plan to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from the city centre entirely by 2035. The council has also launched a ‘Climate Action Oxfordshire’ campaign with other Oxfordshire Councils, aiming to provide advice to help the community save energy and reduce their carbon footprint. 

Leeds City Council: solar-powered innovation

Leeds City Council is driving innovation through its focus on sustainability. In a UK first, Leeds operates three solar-powered park and ride systems at Stourton, Elland Road and Temple Green, as part of its broader strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.  

Fully electric, zero-emission buses provide services into the city centre. The aim of the park and ride systems is to reduce congestion in the city centre and improve air quality. 

East Devon District Council: Switching to an electric fleet

East Devon District Council is working to reduce its carbon emissions and aims to become carbon neutral by 2040. 

The Streetscene team at the Council has a large fleet of electric vans which keep East Devon’s streets, parks and public areas clean daily. In 2020, East Devon became one of the first councils in the country to trial specially modified electric vans in its street-cleaning fleet.  

The Council worked with Mer to install charge points for the new Nissan e-NV200s, which now make up 25% of their fleet. 

Mer provided four dual smart charge points at depots in Exmouth and Sidmouth so the vehicles can charge overnight before heading out each day. Load balancing technology divides the available power between the vehicles, and the back office software solution provides helpful data on usage. Mer also installed upgraded charge points at the Council’s head office in Honiton for staff and visitors. Read the full case study. 

Dorset council: Sustainability on the South Coast

Dorset Council has set a target to reach net zero by 2040. According to the authority’s electric vehicle strategy, transport in Dorset was responsible for 40% of total CO2 emissions, making it the largest single greenhouse gas contributor.  

Much of the county is rural, meaning cars and vans are a vital part of village life. With this in mind, the council has launched its Charging Ahead programme. By 2030, this initiative aims to get 80 per cent of Dorset households within a 10-minute walk of a public charge point. 

Mer worked with Joju on Phase One of the project with Dorset Council, which saw over 40 charging units installed across 18 sites, including six rapid charging stations. Phase Two of the scheme included £125k in funding from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). This supported the installation of an additional 19 dual fast chargers in areas currently underserved by charging infrastructure across the county. Read more here. 

Eastleigh Borough Council: Supporting EV drivers

Eastleigh Borough Council recognised that it needed more EV charging points to support its Climate and Environmental Emergency Action Plan. 

Mer has installed eight public chargers across four sites in the Hampshire borough, to support the authority’s journey to become carbon neutral by 2025. The new Mer charge points cover 16 bays located at four sites. Residents and visitors are benefitting from a range of charging options including one ultra-rapid 150kW charger, three rapid 50kW chargers, and four dual fast 22kW chargers. 

Other sustainable transport initiatives include encouraging increased take-up of zero carbon last-mile sustainable delivery services by local businesses; and a wider strategy looking at the council’s approach for public transport, travel plans, commercial fleet, taxis, low emission vehicles, cycling and walking.  

Find out more here. 

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These five councils are all examples of how local authorities continue to lead the transition towards sustainable transport and more environmentally friendly ways of living. The initiatives of these local authorities serve as a blueprint for others, demonstrating that meaningful change is achievable through proactive and strategic measures. 

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