Gateshead Council, in common with others around the country, has challenging targets to reduce carbon-emissions. They are enthusiastic proponents of any activity that helps them to achieve their sustainability ambitions so a key theme within the Council is ‘Sustainable Gateshead’. They have a long relationship with tadea and were keen to make use of our experience and expertise.
Carbon emissions from vehicle exhausts are a primary cause of poor air quality. As part of the ‘Sustainable Gateshead’ initiative there is a drive to not only improve air quality within the borough but to also reduce the amount spent on fuel. So it was considered imperative that better ways of driving Council vehicles be found. This involved understanding the benefits of fuel-efficient vehicles, better driving and persuading staff and council members of the benefits such a change would bring, sometimes in the face of resistance.
The tadea Solution
Under the management of tadea, the Energy Saving Trust, fed into a ‘green fleet review’ the Council performed on its vehicle stock and made recommendations about how these vehicles could be replaced to provide more sustainable ways of driving.
Replacement of fleet vehicles was only part of the solution. In the short term the Council had to continue using the existing stock, so it was imperative that these vehicles were driven in a way that was as fuel-efficient as possible. tadea’s solution was to invite staff using Council vehicles to join a driver training scheme. Using a combination of instructor lead training and a driving simulator, staff were taught how to accelerate, brake and generally drive the vehicles in a safer and much more fuel efficient manner.
To help counteract some initial resistance to the driver training, tadea provided the Council with advice and support that helped them to explain the benefits, not only to the Council but to the environment and to the individuals involved given that the skills they learned could be applied when driving their own vehicles.
Benefits of working with tadea
The Council implemented the Green Fleet review, which has seen the fleet replaced over a period of three years to include electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and ‘stop-start’ vehicles, each of which is more fuel efficient and carbon-friendly than traditional petrol-powered vehicles. Drivers are driving in a safer, more fuel-conscious manner that helps to reduce emissions and save money.
Accidents involving Council vehicles have dropped by one third during the time of the Green Fleet review. The safer driving skills taught by tadea are thought to be a contributory factor in achieving this reduction.
The Council consider tadea to be a trusted partner, always ready and willing to give advice or support on any green or sustainability issue and will continue to work with tadea. They see us as pro-actively helping to meet the Council’s sustainability demands.
Dale Robson, Head of Transport, Cleaning and Catering, Gateshead Council said of tadea "Gateshead Council has a long history of innovation and implementation of lower carbon transport technologies. This has been recognised nationally, most recently in the Government Business Awards where we won the Environmental Transport category. Guidance and assistance from the Energy Saving Trust team managed by tadea, has been particularly beneficial in steering and supporting this work whether it is providing information, practical or simulation training."