Pest Control Clears the Air with Eco-Friendly Vans
Green Van Man Pest Control officer Ivan Jenkins tries out his new electric van.
A Liverpool City Council team is causing a real buzz on the green scene after swapping its diesel-driven fleet of vans for cleaner electric vehicles.
The pest control crew are out and about five days a week, visiting homes, businesses and public buildings across the city to rid them of their rodent problems or insect infestations.
In their four-strong fleet of vans, the team clocks up about 800 miles each week. And up until recently that meant a fair bit of climate-changing carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere.
Now all that’s changed thanks to a partnership with Renault UK, which means the team has swapped its old gas-guzzlers for squeaky clean new electric vans.
The pest control team make more than 8,000 calls a year. Each member of the team can complete up to 20 calls in a single day and notch up 40 miles each.
The new Kangoo vans have been custom-built so the council workers can get all their bug-zapping gear in the back. They even contain a specially-concealed sink and hygiene unit to allow team members to clean up between jobs.
With zero tailpipe emissions, the vans contain smaller-sized batteries meaning they use less precious metals. During the summer months they can notch up a nifty 125 miles on a single charge.
The city council has a fleet of 200 cars, vans and mini-buses and has operated low-carbon fuel-efficient vehicles for more than 10 years.
Since the Mayor of Liverpool’s commitment to improve air quality in 2017, the council has increased the number of hybrid and electric vehicles on the fleet. In 2017, 70 per cent of the fleet was diesel – today this has fallen to just 39 per cent. The authority will continue to boost this number over the next five years.
The move forms part of Liverpool City Council’s wider commitment to improving air quality in the city and protecting the environment.
This week the council holds a special meeting to consider declaring a Climate Change Emergency and reduce the city’s carbon-emissions to zero by 2030.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr James Noakes, said: “It is clear that poor air quality has many adverse effects both on the environment and potentially on people’s health. So it is important that Liverpool leads the way in developing a long-term air quality strategy.
“Electric vehicles are also really cost-effective and there are considerable savings to be made, particularly on vehicles that do lots of miles each year. In the long-run it is our ambition to improve air quality and to save council tax payers’ money.
“The way these vans have been adapted to meet the specific needs of the pest control team is a real innovation and we look forward to introducing more electric vehicles to our fleet in the future.”
Mathew Kiziuk, Regional Development Manager for Electric Vehicles for Renault UK, said: “We are really proud that we have been able to work with the council to make sure all the conversions have been carried out and all the vehicles have been custom-built for the pest control team.
“These vehicles are clearly doing the job for the council. The feedback I have received has been phenomenal. Electric vehicles are not something to be scared of, you don’t need to be worried about them. The team isn’t going to be sat on the side of the road having run out of electricity.”
Pest Control Officer Ivan Jenkins added: “I have been really impressed with the new vans. They are clean and they are quiet, which is important when you are doing early morning rounds in different neighbourhoods. Because we do a lot of miles, they make the driving much easier.
“This is our planet, this is our city and we need to make sure we are looking after it the best we can. We can’t ask people to drive electric vehicles if the local authority isn’t doing that as well. By using electric vehicles it shows everyone that we are making a change and others should follow suit. It is only going to benefit us, our children and their children. It is a positive step and the customers notice as well. Whenever I pull up to someone’s house and they see the sign on the side they want to ask me questions and know how many electric vehicles the council has got, so it makes me proud to know we are doing our bit and encouraging others.”