National Highways super-charges drive to cut emissions

Steve Elderkin, Director of Environmental Sustainability for National Highways, with David Spooner, Managing Director Safeguard SVP Ltd.

National Highways is set to cut around 250 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, after introducing 307 zero-emission and plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to its fleet across the UK.

The vehicles, which will be put into service over the coming months, include the new Hyundai Kona, which will be introduced across the country for general maintenance and inspection pool cars.

The agency has also introduced 65 ultra-low emission KIA Xceed Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) to replace some of its existing vehicles used to conduct structural surveys.   

In addition, it has already introduced 187 ultra-low emissions PHEVs for traffic officer operations across the country currently, with another 24 on the way. 

Steve Elderkin, director of environmental sustainability for National Highways, said the new vehicles would not only reduce the agency’s emissions but also ensure that journeys are “smooth and reliable”.  

 "As a company, we operate more than 1,300 vehicles so introducing so many new electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids really helps accelerate our journey to net zero, drastically cutting our emissions,” he said.

“Our net zero plan has laid out how we want to hit net zero for our own emissions by 2030, with a commitment that our non-traffic officer vehicles will be 100% electric by 2027 and traffic officer vehicles [will] be 100% electric by 2030.  

"This is a huge step towards that commitment, and we will continue to invest in green and electric vehicles as the technology becomes available, meeting the government’s Road to Zero strategy.”   

Andy Butterfield, National Highways’ operations customer service director, added the new vehicles would assist the Agency’s purpose of supporting the safe operation and good condition of the UK’s road network, through activities like attending and clearing incidents faster and keeping roads free of defects.   

"As part of this, our front-line operational teams provide a 24/7, 365 days a year service and play an integral part of our operation,” he explained. 

“These vehicles will not only withstand the rigours of the role but are also cost effective, versatile, reliable and greener.    

“These vehicles will help ensure that the network can remain free-flowing and properly maintained while also significantly cutting our emissions as we drive towards net zero.”

The 283 vehicles already delivered – Volvo XC90, BMW X5 (PHEV), Hyundai Kona (ZEV) and Kia Xceed (PHEV) – will soon be rolled out across the network.

The Volvo XC90 and BMW X5 have all been kitted out specifically for National Highways with enhanced storage capability, state-of-the-art lighting and distinctive livery, and will utilise an ancillary battery pack allowing the vehicles to run purely on electric or alongside the traditional combustion engine.    

David Spooner, managing director – Safeguard SVP Ltd, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure & privilege working with The National Fleet Team to achieve our joint goal of providing converted vehicles that will provide the end user with Hybrid / Electric role converted vehicles which will enable them to carry out their roles now & into the future safely. 

“The variation of vehicles that have been chosen for conversion have been challenging from an integration & conversion perspective, the team at Safeguard SVP Ltd have enjoyed the challenges presented by this project and look forward to working with The National Fleet Team in the future.” 

The move to electric vehicles is among a host of measures National Highways is taking to improve air quality and tackle carbon emissions from road transport.    

Find out more about National Highways’ net zero plan. 

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