Perth and Kinross Council has unveiled plans to replace the provost’s car with a “more practical and environmentally friendly” option.
The council is considering replacing the Audi A8 with something along the lines of a Ford Transit nine-seater hybrid vehicle.
Officers are also exploring the option of using a multi-purpose pool vehicle managed by the council’s fleet service to “make the most use of resources” as the council seeks to make savings.
Councillors were given an update at a meeting of the Provost’s Sub-Committee on Monday, January 23.
Provost Xander McDade told the sub-committee – which comprised his depute provost and five bailies – a nine-seater would be more practical for transporting delegation groups around.
He said: “Last summer we did quite a bit of investigation into the civic vehicle and we trialled a number of different options. From the trialling of those options we did rest on a sort of modified Ford Transit – a nine-seater.”
He laughed: “It doesn’t sound very glamorous but it is very practical. And that is one of the key things from our point of view that we want something that is more environmentally friendly so it was a hybrid but we also wanted something that would be more practical for carrying large groups around.
“So if we’ve got a civic delegation for example we would be able to take everyone around in one vehicle as opposed to requiring multiple vehicles or having to hire – as we currently do – minibuses to support that.
“The vehicle is obviously used for supporting civic events, transferring stuff from cash and carry, glasses, chairs, whatever it may be. I think there has even been barriers in the back of it so a more practical vehicle for such purposes.”
The Independent Highland Perthshire councillor explained why they had settled on a hybrid vehicle as the best option.
The provost said: “A fully electric vehicle wouldn’t be practical for some of the distance and duties and areas that it’s going to but a hybrid is much more appropriate and given the current – which could be described as a ‘gas-guzzler’ – it will be a significant reduction in emissions.
“At the moment the car we had selected has just been taken out of production ahead of replacing it. So we are trying to understand whether we’ll be able to buy perhaps an external or second-hand version of that or whether we will have to wait.
“Officers are investigating that at the moment but we have arrived on what we think is a much more practical solution which will be available for a wider use of purposes.”
Bailie Ahern asked about the number plate and if it would be transferred to the new vehicle.
Acting democratic services manager Scott Hendry added: “One of the options we’ve been looking at is the purchase of another vehicle.
“Another option we have been considering is the council has a number of pool cars as managed by its fleet service and we’re looking at whether that could be another option in terms of a multi-purpose vehicle again in terms of trying to save costs, make the most use of resources that we can as possible. There are a number of options we’re looking at.
“Obviously if there was a situation with the current car and the number plate we’d have to make a decision as to how that would work going forward. My understanding is it was gifted to the council and it would be up to the council to decide going forward.”
Depute provost Andrew Parrott said having the personalised plate could “sometimes help the people who are expecting the provost or whoever is representing the council”.
Provost McDade added: “We won’t be replacing things like the attachments that hold flags and haven’t been using things like that for quite some a while. And there is quite a significant cost in those sorts of things. We are looking at every opportunity to reduce any costs and to make it a more environmentally friendly option.”