The Environment Agency is taking delivery of 55 all-wheel drive Ford Transit vans.
The Ford Transit models will go into service across England assisting with the agency’s flood and coastal risk management programmes, for which AWD traction is vital.
“Our work inevitably requires us to visit rural areas where access can be a bit of a challenge,” said Dale Eynon, head of fleet services.
“While we need vehicles which can get our staff off road, we don’t have a need for massive, carbon-heavy 4x4s. The AWD Transit is an ideal combination because it has the ability, the size, is much lower on carbon and more cost-effective.
“The vehicles will be used to help our work to protect people and the environment, in particular accessing remote sites for tasks such as tree clearance, construction and the operation of flood defences.”
All the vans are being converted by Leicestershire-based specialist Bott with special racking for tools and light bars, with some of the Transits being turned into ‘welfare units’, equipped with toilets and heating, which allow staff respite from bad weather and a comfortable environment in which to eat and rest between shifts.
The 55 new Transit models, all 350 AWD long-wheelbase versions powered by the 2.2-litre Ford Duratorq TDCi engine, join a 1,400-strong multi-badge fleet at the Environment Agency.
Paul Henderson, direct sales manager, Ford of Britain, said the AWD Transit offered much-needed off-road traction when needed.
“Under normal conditions the drive is directed to the van’s rear wheels but the AWD system automatically transfers engine torque to whichever wheels have the most grip. It makes the Transit an even more versatile workmate.”