BARNSLEY Council’s cabinet members are set to approve plans to purchase more than 100 vehicles - costing more than £5m - at a meeting next week.

The council’s current fleet contains more than 420 vehicles, plant and equipment.

It has a capital value of more than £15m and the council say the fleet is ‘essential’ to deliver services to residents across the borough.

Of the 102 vehicles the council are looking to procure for 2023/24, up to 29 will be ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV) - contributing to the council’s bid to become net zero in the coming years.

A value of up to £5.45m has been earmarked for the vehicles - which are set to be approved on Wednesday - by way of purchase followed by a ‘sale and lease back arrangement’.

A report states: “It plans to procure a total of 102 vehicles, 29 of which have been identified as candidates for EVs.

“A total of 86 of these vehicles are replacing existing vehicles, with 33 of these for use by Berneslai Homes.

“The remaining 16 vehicles are not replacements and are additional to the existing fleet, one of these additional vehicles is for use by Berneslai Homes.

“These additional vehicles are to accommodate the growth of the services and in the case of travel assistance to support the business case of bringing routes (where it is economical to do so) in house to reduce cost and relieve pressures on service delivery caused by market pressure.”

The council say ‘rising inflation rates’ have seen large price increases for both new vehicles and parts to service and maintain its existing fleet.

The report added: “There are a total of 64 vehicles on order awaiting delivery from the 2022/23 vehicle replacement programme.

“These have a value of £2.711m.

“The council has experienced delays in delivery of new vehicles, suppliers are informing us this is due to shortages in parts, labour, materials, and energy issues resulting from the geopolitical incident in Ukraine with legacy impact from Covid-19 and Brexit.

“This is adding a financial pressure to the fleet budget because of additional maintenance on older vehicles, lease extension costs for existing vehicles, and a reduction in availability of vehicles which requires additional short term hire vehicles to meet service delivery requirements.”

The council believe that purchasing the new vehicles will allow them to deliver the services in a ‘safe and efficient’ way without higher maintenance or higher costs.

“Replacing existing vehicles will allow the council to benefit from either the latest emissions standard vehicles or zero emission electric vehicles,” the report added.

“New vehicles will also reduce the maintenance cost of the fleet - as vehicles age their maintenance requirement increases.

“The new vehicles will also come with a warranty, meaning the cost of any breakdowns or unplanned maintenance will not be incurred by the council.”

Matt O’Neill, executive director for growth and sustainability, said: “We all have a part to play in helping Barnsley to be net zero carbon as a council by 2040 and as a borough by 2045, protecting our area for future generations.

“By making greener choices in the vehicles we use as a council, we’re helping reduce carbon emissions and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.

“We have faced unprecedented challenges such as increased costs and long delays for vehicles and parts.

“These replacements will help to ensure that the council is properly equipped to continue to deliver excellent services to the residents of Barnsley.”