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Council Frustrated By Regulations

Friday, 04 March 2022 10:43

Douglas Borough Council says it is disappointed and frustrated after its plan to use new vehicles aimed at reducing carbon emissions was thwarted.


In 2020 it became the Island’s first local authority to trial a compressed natural gas (CNG) powered vehicle, an initiative deemed a success with significant savings made in fuel costs and considerably lower emissions than a diesel equivalent.


That prompted the purchase of four such vehicles last summer but, in recent months it has emerged regulations prevent them from being used in the Island.


While the Council has tried to match the Isle of Man Government’s aspirations both environmentally and economically, it has been defeated by outdated regulations which worryingly also prevents adoption of other emerging technologies.


With the suppliers not providing a buyback option, the authority says it has had no choice but to sell the vehicles to a UK broker. They will be replaced by fossil fuel powered alternatives.


Council leader Mrs Claire Wells said: ‘This is a very disappointing and highly frustrating scenario and one we have reluctantly had to accept. CNG is a viable alternative fuel to power our fleet of vehicles and the investment in low carbon transport was the first step for the Council to lower our emissions.


‘When we agreed to purchase these vehicles, we felt it was the right and responsible thing to do, as set out in the Council’s Corporate Plan, as well as underlining our commitment to our status as a UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man partner.


‘Not only have regulations prevented us from using them but they are at odds with the Government’s Climate Change agenda of removing fossil fuel powered vehicles from Manx roads by 2030.’


CNG is a clean fuel source with much lower emissions that could offer economic benefits to the Council, which ultimately could be passed on to the ratepayers of Douglas.


Mrs Wells continued: ‘We would like to thank the team at the Test Centre which has been extremely helpful throughout but, despite looking at other options, we have had to sell the vehicles.


‘We have written to the Climate Change Transformation Team and hope to work with them and the government going forward to maximise economic and environmental opportunities.


‘As a Council, we believe it is important to experiment with new and emerging technologies as we move towards a more eco-friendly society and this is an unfortunate casualty which will not deter us in our bid to continually invest in low greenhouse gas emission technology.’