Forrest, the North West social housing regeneration specialist, is investing £1.7 million in a new carbon efficient fleet.
A total of 130 cars and vans will be introduced over two years for community liaison officers, site managers and operatives.
An extensive review of Forrest’s existing fleet showed that considerable cost and emission savings could be made by switching to newer, more environmentally-friendly models.
The performance of 107 vehicles was assessed against payload, miles per gallon (mpg) and outright cost, as well as whether the vehicle was fit for purpose.
This led Forrest to select three different sized vehicles – the Ford Fiesta 1.6 Ecotec, Fiat Doblo Cargo Maxi 1.6 Multijet and Ford Transit LWB.
Based on an average weekly distance of 300 miles, per year each vehicle should produce savings of £936, £1,232 and £2,059 respectively on existing fuel costs.
Alongside the introduction of the new vehicles, Forrest is also rolling out ‘GreenRoad’, a measurement programme that tracks drivers’ performance and scores it against more than 100 categories.
The focus of GreenRoad is on creating safer and more environmentally-friendly driving by highlighting good practice through a green light system, encouraging motorists to modify their behaviour, reducing risk, lowering insurance premiums and creating better driving habits.
In a trial run, Forrest found that when using GreenRoad, all 10 test subjects received a green rating, in comparison to just one when no system was used. The overall score of drivers went from 40 to 11 in one week, which represents a major decrease in the number of potentially hazardous manoeuvres being made.
The fleet review follows Forrest’s enrolment into the Energy Saving Trust’s Plugged-in-Fleets initiative earlier this year. One of only five companies outside of London invited to take part, the scheme will assess where electric vehicles may have a role to play in the business.
Lee McCarren, chief executive at Forrest, said: “In all of the services Forrest provides we advocate sustainability, so it’s important that we practice what we preach.
“The introduction of the new fleet, complemented by GreenRoad technology, will enable us to deliver greener operations.
“We’re already seeing positive results as our staff are made more aware of the actions that constitute a safe and conscientious drive and look forward to reaping future benefits.”