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The Department of Energy & Climate Change’s recent report on tackling climate change identified which it calls the “energy efficiency paradox” in business.  Noting that business seems to require a higher level of pay-back than domestic adopters, the report says that “organisations use economic arguments in their thinking about energy efficiency but these are set within a wider context of procedures, norms, rules of thumb, hierarchies, cultures and subcultures, friendships, material possibilities and market pressures.”

For local councils the pressure is even greater as they have to rely on finite resources and account to both Government and the tax payers for expenditure.  This has traditionally hindered the adoption of zero-emission vehicles which have a high purchase price coupled with rapid depreciation.  The fact remains though that for councils, zero-emission vehicles can make a considerable impact on their carbon footprint; a factor which is of great importance in Scotland which has an emission reduction target of 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.  With road transport generally accounting for some 25% of emissions, the incentive for Scottish Councils to green their transport fleets is immense.

With this in mind, LeasePlan UK set about creating a financial package which would enable councils in Scotland to take up zero-emission vehicles.  Working with vehicle manufacturers and the Scottish Government, LeasePlan UK developed a leasing package which would enable councils to take advantage of zero-emission vehicle leasing for no more than the normal cost of leasing diesel vehicles.

The pilot was run with Dumfries and Galloway Council (DGC )which opted to trial four Nissan Leaf vehicles and an electric sweeper.  So successful was the pilot that DGC have taken on further electric vehicles as have other Scottish public bodies including seven other Scottish councils.  The scheme has now been extended into England where it has been adopted by a number of organisations and public bodies.

Whilst the scheme is still in its comparative infancy, by March 2012 fifty-three electric vehicles had been ordered or delivered with those already delivered having saved 1,587 tonnes of Co2.  Initiatives such as this one delivered by LeasePlan UK are opening up the pathways to eco-adoption and removing some of the cost-barriers.

But Lease-Plan UK is not just looking to make a difference in the eco-world.  In 2012 the CRF Institute named LeasePlan UK as one of “Britain’s Top Employers.”  In receiving the award, the CRF Institute particularly commended LEasePlan UK for its “outstanding working conditions, the support given to staff while they grow and the company car scheme.”

In the light of LeasePlan UK’s innovative approach to eco-vehicle leasing we were very glad to acclaim it as one of our International Green Heroes