Instead of driving round in vehicles at the council taxpayers’ expense, they should run their own vehicles, according to a council panel.
It says the use of taxis could prove better value for money than a fleet of staff cars.
In the last financial year, the council spent over £200,000 on providing 53 staff cars, according to a report going to a meeting of the council’s resources overview committee.
These cars include top of the range vehicles with high carbon output such as Subaru Impreza and Legacy Sports Tourer models, as well as Jaguar, BMW, Saab and Audi.
The average annual cost of each car was over £3,800, yet the average mileage was only 3,000.
This made the average cost to the council tax payer £1.26 per mile – taxis charge £1.20 per mile.
The probe into the cost of officers’ cars came at the request of Liberal Democrat leader Coun. Derek Kennedy.
“The council must recognise its own impact, if it is to mitigate the risk of significant reputation damage,” said Coun. Kennedy.
The report reminded members that Tynedale had signed up to the Nottingham declaration on climate change, and said: “In an environment of continuous debate and pressure we feel the council has to take action to mitigate its impact on the climate and bow to public pressure by introducing a policy that will reduce emissions.”
He noted that 30 of the 53 council-leased cars emitted C02 over 150 g/km.
The report said: “We feel a policy of using no higher than 149 g/km C02 emitting engines would help deliver the council’s climate change obligations and still allow council officers to conduct their work in relative comfort and in reliable vehicles.”
Of the 53 lease cars, 36 travelled less than 3,000 miles per year, while 11 travelled less than 1,000.
Coun. Kennedy said: “The lease car system, in our opinion, is not value for money and there could be savings made if all officers travelled by their own vehicle and claimed the 40p per mile allowance which is claimed by councillors.”
He said if officers used their own vehicles the council would save £138,064.07 per year.