To carry out day to day operations, we have a total of 31 vehicles across our campuses that get us from A to B. These range from cars and vans to tipper trucks and minibuses, all helping to move people, equipment and products and ensure that things are running smoothly. Sustainable travel and transport are priority areas that we are working to improve, to make sure that we are reducing the impacts of the vehicles we use (as well as supporting our community to do the same) and reducing our scope 3 carbon emissions. Since our declaration of the climate and ecological emergency in December 2020, we have been reviewing the fleet and within the Sustainability Sub-Strategy have set in place plans to increase the number of electric vehicles to 75% by 2026; we are currently at 29%.

Most of our vehicles are based at Colchester, and although many of them rarely leave campus they collectively cover thousands of miles each year. Colleagues in Maintenance, Soft FM, Essex Food, the Post Room and Security all now use Electric Vehicles (EVs), which are the smartest choice: we can charge them on site and there are zero direct emissions from these vehicles as they travel around, helping to improve air quality. They are simpler to maintain too, so the lifetime cost is more efficient for the University.

As our EV fleet is growing, we have installed three chargers under podia for University vehicles, keeping the 12 chargers in our car parks available for staff and visitors to use. We’ll also be installing more of these to meet demand.

As older vehicles come to the end of their life, we’ll replace them with EVs whenever possible, and we’ll also look at alternatives too. For example, e-cargo bikes and golf buggies may make more sense in some cases, when mobility is the key requirement. We have already purchased an ecargo bike using grant funding from the Energy Saving Trust, adding efficient on-campus transport that can carry up to 100kg of cargo. This bike is available for all departments to borrow for up to a whole day at a time. Contact to book your training session, and then you can make your booking online.

We are on a journey of improvement and development; there are many challenges ahead, but also a lot of exciting opportunities. For more information on sustainability at the university, check out our blogs and read more about the Sustainability Sub-Strategy priorities.