Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service could switch non-operational fleet to electric

A FIRE service is taking 'the first steps' in the fight against carbon emissions.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 12:32 pm

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service has announced plans to meet a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

To do this, an annual reduction of 24 per cent in the service's carbon footprint is required by 2030.

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Cosham Fire Station. Picture: Keith Woodland.

At an authority meeting in Eastleigh this morning, director of corporate services Matt Robinson outlined how this will be achieved.

He said: 'These are the first steps needed, which is to invest in the infrastructure to allow our journey to commence.

'Different heating and insulation across the estate will be needed but we need to better understand what is needed.

'This isn't starting from nothing. The authority has got a long history of investment in reducing the impact on the environment, particularly around renewable energy.'

In his report, chief fire officer Neil Odin said that 43 per cent of total emissions come from the vehicle fleet, sparking a switch to electric for non-operation vehicles.

The remaining 57 per cent comes from energy use in service buildings, including at the service’s 61 fire stations. Most are now older than 50 years old.

To reduce the fire service's carbon footprint, £1.09m funding has been approved.

Some £940,000 of this will be spent on electric vehicle charging points, with a further £43,000 per year allocated for an employee dedicated to tackling climate change.

The fire service's capital programme will now be re-profiled to secure the funding.

The government has already launched a consultation over ending the sale of non-zero emissions heavy goods vehicles by 2035.

Cllr Roger Price, division councillor for Fareham Portchester, said action must be taken sooner rather than later - but voiced some concerns about changing over to electric fire engines.

He said: 'This is the future of the planet - we agree totally with the principle.

'The environment is something which we've all got to take on board and reduce our carbon footprint.

'Regarding fire appliances, when it's there [at an incident] the engine is on all the time and fuel can be delivered, but you can't do that with a long cable. I think we're a long way off something that will be satisfactory and suitable.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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