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More steps towards low carbon

Sunderland City Council's drive toward becoming carbon neutral has moved up a gear with the new-look £9m Washington Parsons Depot.


The depot and its workshops are a hub for the council's 450 strong vehicle fleet and it has now been re-built and updated with the latest hi-tech and low carbon features.

These include 25 fast charging and five rapid charging points for electrical vehicles (EVs) that can be charged up with energy from roof mounted solar panels.

One-in-ten council vehicles (44 EVs) are now EVs and this is set to increase with Parsons now on line and staff settling into the updated six acre (2.58 ha) site in Parsons Road, Washington.

Work started on updating the site in summer 2021 with North East-based construction contractors Esh Group.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Cabinet Member for Clean Green City, Councillor Claire Rowntree is the council's Climate Champion.

She said: "We are moving towards our aims of being a carbon neutral city and the Parsons Depot is part of this big picture. The hi-tech updates for energy consumption, carbon emissions and its environmentally friendlier facilities allow us to expand our capacity for specialist?electric and other low carbon EVs.

"Parsons helps towards meeting our moves of making the council carbon neutral by 2030 and having a carbon neutral city by 2040. We have to look ahead and the new building here with all these facilities is a foundation stone for more low carbon work.

"Our City Plan is delivering a more dynamic, healthy and vibrant Sunderland and moving towards becoming carbon neutral - Parsons is part of this."

Alongside the EVs, Parsons includes new workshops, maintenance and testing bays for class 8 vehicles up to 42 tonnes. It has accommodation and garaging for winter maintenance, ground-works and environmental and cleansing plant and equipment, from street sweepers, and ploughs to grass cutters. Highways and horticultural services in and around Washington also use Parsons.

Paul Waller, Operations Director at Esh Construction said: "Esh Construction is proud to have delivered a scheme which leads the way in improving sustainability and carbon reduction for the City Council's vehicle fleet. "As a local contractor we delivered social and economic value throughout this scheme, with a key focus on procuring a local supply chain, employing a local workforce and providing on-site training opportunities."

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