Cabinet signs off £8 million to replace ‘uneconomic’ Doncaster Council vehicles

David Plowie isn't being replaced but 278 out of 670 will be as part of 8 million signed off by cabinet. Picture: George Torr
David Plowie isn't being replaced but 278 out of 670 will be as part of 8 million signed off by cabinet. Picture: George Torr

Doncaster councillors have agreed to sign off over £8 million to replace hundreds of local authority vehicles. 

Cabinet members agreed to release the money in order to replace council fleet over two years deemed to have ‘exceeded the point of economic viability'.

Some 268 out of 678 council vehicles were said to be bearing ‘significant additional costs’ in terms of parts, labour and if continued, could affect the performance of front line services. 

A report seen by councillors shows the average extra cost over a year period is approximately £1,865 per vehicle equalling around £455,000 which is said to be ‘unrecoverable and not sustainable’.

Current resources are said to be 'stretched to capacity’ and with warranted periods of ‘overtime and excessive parts spend’.

An additional 38 vehicles are ‘on long term hire’ to compensate for those already removed from fleet deemed ‘uneconomic’.

The cabinet approval will see a change from the ‘large volume batch replacement’ which got rid of vehicles regardless of condition, cost or performance. 

Coun Joe Blackham, cabinet member for highways, street scene and trading services, said the council’s existing fleet falls ‘below the performance expected’ from European Emission Standards.

But he added the proposals will  ‘significantly improve performance’ and delivering a ‘safe, reliable and cost effective’ fleet.

Coun Blackham said: “Having an individual end of life approach to vehicle replacement will form a key part of the proposal moving forward where monthly rolling assessment and need within the fleet will be the decision making criteria as opposed to the traditional cycle of large volume batch replacement historically employed, regardless of condition, cost or performance.

“Vehicles performing well and at acceptable cost will be retained until that status changes and costly or under-performing vehicles can also be replaced as required rather than be time dependant.

“The size and utilisation figures for Doncaster Council’s fleet is in the majority of cases better than the best performing similar local authorities. These fleet replacement proposals will further enhance and improve this position.”