A focus on making its fleet leaner and greener has helped a Scottish local authority save more than £700,000 in the past two years.

Falkirk Council is a member of the ECO Stars scheme, which aims to help organisations using commercial vehicles to drive down their carbon emissions by making their fleets more efficient, therefore helping to improve local air quality.

A member of the Falkirk scheme since it launched in February 2013, the council has recently achieved an upgrade in its ECO Stars rating from three to four stars, the first Scottish authority to move up the scale.

The past two years have seen the fleet reduced in size by 23 vehicles, the introduction of dual-use vehicles that double as gritters and gully motors to replace older vehicles, and the roll-out of a new tracking system to optimise routeing.

Councillor Craig Martin, spokesperson for the environment at Falkirk Council, said: “The upgrade of our rating in the ECO Stars scheme is a sign of how serious we are about our environmental credentials.

“The new vehicle management and tracking systems as well as our new multi-purpose vehicles have helped us build a modern fleet of vehicles and reduce costs at a time when budgets are tight without impacting performance.

He added: “We will work with our climate change and carbon management teams going forward to build on our successes so far.”

There are 71 members operating 3,743 vehicles in the Falkirk ECO Stars scheme.

ECO Stars Scotland manager Mark Cavers said: “Falkirk is the first council in Scotland to be awarded an upgrade and this demonstrates their commitment to reducing their vehicle emissions and improving local air quality.

“Achieving an upgrade from 3 to 4 stars is an excellent milestone for any organisation, but it is all the more impressive when you compare the number of vehicles that Falkirk Council has in the scheme – 369 – to the average number of vehicles per fleet in the Falkirk scheme, which is just 53.”

 Image: roy henderson / Shutterstock.com