Investigation by Bill Heaney

West Dunbartonshire residents are being asked to help the Council play its part in sparking an upsurge in electric vehicle use while six brand now ones lie unused and “rotting away” in their office car park.

The appeal for help comes at a remarkable time when the Council itself has purchased these electric vehicles but has failed to put them into service.

They have been lying for nearly two years, taxed and MOTd, out in all weathers in the car park at the Aurora House council offices in Clydebank, soaking up snow and ice – and inevitably rust.

It is believed that the previous SNP administration bought half a dozen of the electric Pugeots as a vanity project.

This was to make the SNP look good during COP 26, the international climate change conference, which was held a year ago at the SECC in Glasgow.

The new Labour administration appears to have been landed with the electric cars hospital pass and will have much work – and significant costs to meet – before they can, if ever, be put into service.

The cars have been described by concerned members of the public to be in poor condition and one person said they were “rotting away”.

The “pugs” as they are called are all 16 number plates and do not appear ever to have been used.

Whistleblowers who checked with the DVLA told The Democrat that they all seem to have had an up to date MOT but have never moved.

They want to know how this came about, what the unused electric charging points at Aurora House cost and if they still function?

They have also asked what the cars are for and if the council have spent money on new petrol or diesel cars  since purchasing these electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, as The Democrat report earlier this month, encouraging car owners to ditch the diesel and petrol engines in favour of cleaner transport was said to be “a key element of the drive towards our Net Zero target – and a big part of meeting that challenge is expanding the vehicle charging infrastructure”.

Councillors say that to help them develop a strategy that makes it easier for more people to make the switch, they are seeking the views of residents at the following survey

Dumbarton councillor David McBride, convener of the Council’s Infrastructure, Regeneration & Economic Development Committee (IRED) said: “The quest to reach Net Zero is a cornerstone of the Council’s ambitions for the future and helping car users make the switch to cleaner fuel will take a huge step towards that target.

“Whether you already have an electric vehicle or are considering getting one in the future, your input can help us develop our strategy including the location of new charging points.”

Old Kilpatriuck councillor Lawrence O’Neill, vice convener of the IRED Committee, added: “Improving the environment is a global responsibility and in West Dunbartonshire we are determined to do our bit to make a difference.

“Putting in place a robust and effective charging infrastructure is a key priority and I’d urge residents to help us meet their needs by engaging in this survey.”

The public consultation, which is open until 31 December, is part of the wider Glasgow City Region project to fund major infrastructure improvements including public transport and connectivity, driving business growth and investment.

The £1.13 billion City Deal is an agreement between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and eight local authorities – West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire.

It is also the one which cash-strapped West Dunbartonshire Council agreed last year to pay £6 million to Exxon, one of the richest companies in the world, to clean up the environmental damage done by them while operating a terminal and tank farm on the banks of the River Clyde at Bowling.

The Labour administration at Dumbarton appears still to be operating the SNP’s unapproved by the council policy of not answering questions direct from The Democrat, which was also adopted enthusiastically by the former Chief Executive Joyce White and the uncommunicative communications department,

We would have spoken to the new chief executive Peter Hessett and Beth Culshaw. the chief official at the Health and Social Care Partnership, about these cars and asked for an explanation as to how this came about, but as things stand the council gag is still in place.

– ends –


  1. Maybe someone should ask a Freedom of Information Act question.

    1) How many electric cars has the Council bought or leased over the last six years. Please list yearly – models and number

    2) How many of these cars does it still hold.

    3) If electric cars have been sold or off hired can council confirm specific models and year of disposal together end mileages.

    4) What is latest mileages of models still held

    That information, which should be readily available from council systems should give an overview.

    Maybe the Democrat could make the FOI.

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