£500,000 grant allows nurses to switch to electric cars

Renault ZOE (Image: Cornwall Foundation Trust)
Renault ZOE (Image: Cornwall Foundation Trust)

A grant of over £500,000 has been awarded to Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) by the NHS Energy Efficiency Initiative to help implement its eco-friendly green travel plans.

The Trust’s success was announced today (8 November 2013) by Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter.

CFT has used the grant to take forward three integrated projects which will see the Trust’s annual mileage reduce by over 725,000 miles a year and save over £300,000– the equivalent of 12 nurses.

Julie Dawson, CFT’s Chief Operating Officer and Carbon Lead said,

“We are delighted our green travel plans have been given a huge boost by the NHS Energy Efficiency Initiative.

“Many of the Trust’s services are provided by staff working in the community – for example health visitors and community psychiatric nurses – who through the course of their duties undertake over 5 million miles a year – the equivalent of travelling around the world more than 200 times.

“Cornwall’s geography and rurality makes it difficult for us to totally remove the need to travel but we are keen to ensure the impact is reduced and all journeys are as cost efficient as possible.”

The Trust has used the £525,000 to purchase 15 fully electric cars, install the infrastructure to support these including charging points and booking system to help staff identify the most cost effective fleet vehicle for their journey; and support investment in IT.

The 15 electric vehicles will complement the Trust’s existing 100-strong fleet and if successful will pave the way for more of the fleet to be switched to electric as it continues to take forward plans to reduce its carbon footprint.

The Renault Zoe, electric cars will be located at Trust premises in Liskeard, Bodmin, Redruth and Penzance. The cars have been supplied by Dales Cornwall, Redruth in the largest single Renault fleet contract the dealership has completed in recent years. In addition to the fuel savings generated by the switch to electric vehicles, a solar farm will be installed on the Trust’s premises in Bodmin and Liskeard. This will offset the additional electricity costs. It is forecast that the solar farm will create in excess of £10,000 worth of electricity each year.

The cost of travelling 100 miles in an electric vehicle is £28, almost half the cost of using one of the Trust’s traditional fleet vehicles.

Upgrades are also being made to the Trust’s telephone and IT systems to allow staff to maximise the benefits of telephone and confidential video-conferencing from their desks thereby increasing efficiency and reducing energy waste. The IT upgrade will be completed by 1 April 2014.

The Trust’s electric fleet and solar farm will be visited by Baroness Kramer – Minister of State for Transport in December.

CFT is the only NHS Trust in the south west to be awarded funds by the NHS Energy Efficiency Initiative.

Hat-tip to niggle.