Openreach’s 28,000-strong fleet is the second largest in the UK, and operates across all areas of the country, including Scotland’s rural areas.
As part of its commitment, Openreach said it has now created a “dedicated project team” focused on cutting fleet emissions and helping to identify alternative, cleaner technologies.
In April this year, Openreach announced the introduction of an ‘EV-first’ purchasing policy, which resulted in the roll-out of 620 electric vans.
To encourage more large-scale investment in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, the firm also recently joined EV100, a global campaign for EVs, to help promote further government action on areas such as increasing public charging infrastructure and UK-based manufacturing of electric vans.
Openreach’s parent company BT said it has been “working closely” with the RouteZero Climate Group to set up the UK Electric Fleet Coalition, which is looking to “tackle barriers that businesses face” in making the switch to electric vehicles.
The COP26 Transport Declaration is an attempt by the Climate Group to “work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040,” and by no later than 2035 in other areas.
Representatives of governments, businesses, and other firms with influence over the future of the automotive industry and road transport, have committed to “rapidly accelerating the transition to zero emission vehicles to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement”.
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Commenting on the new pledge, Openreach CEO Clive Selley, who attended COP26 with Freya Baillie, four, from Glasgow, said: “At Openreach, we’re truly committed to reducing our operational impact and transitioning our 28,000 strong commercial fleet – the second largest in the UK – to zero emission by 2030.
“I’m pleased to be talking about the opportunities and challenges ahead in Glasgow, and how we can lead the charge while building and maintaining the UK’s biggest broadband network.”
Selley added that, price differences between electric and diesel vans meant that Government support through grants and the future tax treatment of EVs is “crucial”, and that long term certainty about tax and grants is required in order to support the business case.
Additionally, Selley said, with 60% of new vehicle registrations in the UK made by businesses, fleet operators like Openreach will form the “second-hand electric vehicle market of the future”.
Current investment in fleets will drive innovation and cost reduction – helping small businesses and consumers to transition later in the decade, Selley said.
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