THE county council has begun testing electric vans as part of the authority’s aim to make Northumberland carbon neutral.

Northumberland County Council officially declared a climate emergency at a meeting in June last year.

As part of the measures introduced to combat climate change, the council pledged to halve the council’s carbon footprint by 2025 and make the county carbon neutral by 2030.

To stick to that pledge, the council has launched a number of initiatives to reduce emissions, including replacing its fleet of small diesel vans with electric vehicles.

The authority has now hired an electric Nissan e-NV200 on test, to see how it performs against the current vehicles. The council’s fleet is used to support the delivery of a range of services, from highways to neighbourhood services. The electric van can travel up to 187 miles and can be rapidly charged in around one hour.

Coun. Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We’re fully committed to bringing in a cleaner and greener fleet of vehicles.

“We’ll be looking closely at how this test vehicle performs.

“We have 66 vans of this size which are due to be replaced over the next couple of years.

“We are investing heavily in electrifying as much as our fleet as we can and getting in place all the related infrastructure such as charging points.

“A lot of work will need to be done in the coming years on renewing our fleet and exploring new technology so that we can green our fleet as the technology develops.”

The e-NV200 is equipped with a 40kWh battery, with a range of 187 miles in a city setting and 124 miles in a combined cycle.

The new van is capable of travelling 60 per cent further than those equipped with the previous battery.