The Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester will have to be content with a bumper sticker that says ‘My other car’s a Jag’ after it was decided they should be driven around in a hybrid vehicle rather than a traditional gas-guzzling Jaguar.
City of Chester Charter Trustees wanted to make sure the civic car was consistent with the council's evolving low emission strategy aimed at cutting pollution because air quality is so poor in parts of Chester , Ellesmere Port and Frodsham .
That’s why it was decided to lease a black 1.6-litre Hyundai Ioniq hybrid vehicle in which the Deputy Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Chester will be driven to official engagements.
But the decision flies in the face of a report before trustees - all Cheshire West councillors - which recommended leasing a 2-litre Jaguar XE.
Newton councillor Cllr Richard Beacham, who is one of the trustees, said: “Commonsense prevailed. Politicians can be accused of not practising what they preach. This is an example of people in politics exercising joined-up thinking.
"We recently unveiled the low emission strategy and extended the city centre air quality management zone so this is the council demonstrating the importance of green technology and evolving low emission and hybrid vehicles in its choice of second vehicle for the civic team.”
He added: "The council has had its budget cut by £57m so we also need to make purchasing decisions that reflect the impact austerity is having on local government."
While the Lord Mayor of Chester is chauffeured around in a Bentley, the report revealed the civic team’s current second car is a Vauxhall Insignia. Several replacements were considered within the 2017-18 budget, set at a maximum £34,600 for cars and fuel. Comparisons were drawn with neighbouring authorities including Warrington which has an Audi A6, Liverpool which uses a Mercedes and Wrexham with its Skoda Superb.
The report, which was ultimately ignored by trustees, stated: “The sub-committee considered all of the quotes and thought that whilst a hybrid would be desirable, it was felt that they were not yet tried and tested sufficiently enough that they could be confident that it was the best car for the purpose.
“They felt that improvements to electric/hybrid cars were being made all the time and that the lease of such a car should be re-visited in three years when any new lease would be due for renewal. The sub-committee felt that, based on the remaining quotes, a three-year lease of a Jaguar XE saloon was their preferred option and this is the recommendation that they are making to the trustees.“
Trustees heard the Hyundai hybrid achieved an impressive 83.1 miles per gallon compared with the Jaguar’s 37.7mpg and had lower CO2 emissions levels.
The vehicle fleet used on the Duke of Westminster's Eaton Estate at Eccleston, near Chester, includes electric cars driven by employees such as security officers.
A spokesperson said: “The estate deploys a wide range of vehicles to support our people to carry out the wide range of roles and responsibilities which make up its day to day management. The estate has had electric vehicles for a number of years for use on the park, saving fuel and which are quieter for tenants at night. However we also use agricultural vehicles and 4x4s to reflect the range of requirements."