THE former leader of BCP Council has said she is “absolutely mortified” at cabinet plans to spend £90,000 on two new cars for its mayors.

Councillor Vikki Slade criticised the inclusion on the funding in the council’s long-term fleet management plan, is “totally unacceptable” and that new cars were not needed.

Despite her view being supported by the current mayor of Bournemouth, the decision has been defended by the cabinet member for environment, councillor Mark Anderson, who said the new vehicles were needed.

The fleet management plan will be considered by the council’s cabinet next week and includes details of the expansion of the trial of the use of treated vegetable oil to power its bin lorries and its electric vehicle provision.

The council has more than 600 vehicles, a fleet, its cabinet member for transport councillor Mike Greene said, was “large and very thirsty”, using a combined 1.3 million litres of fuel each year.

And just 13 of these vehicles are electric, a figure he acknowledged needed to increase.

“In an ideal world, of course, we would just take all of our vehicles and replace them immediately but there are some severe restricting factors in that,” he said at Monday’s meeting of the council’s scrutiny board.

He said the most significant was that the technology was “still very much emerging” and that electric vehicles may not be universally appropriate, with the possibility that larger ones are hydrogen powered.

“What we do in this strategy is to come up with some form of middle way that  allows us to make a very substantial step into on our journey towards ultra-low emission vehicles,” he added. “ Of course there is plenty of life left in an awful lot of machines at the moment and it makes no financial sense to be replacing them before they get to the end of their lives.”

It includes proposals to ramp up the capacity of electric chargers at council depots.

But the decision to allocate £90,000 for the purchase of two new mayoralty cars next year has drawn criticism.

“I was absolutely mortified see in the proposal for two new mayoral cars,” former leader councillor Vikki Slade said. “It’s totally unacceptable to me that we’re looking to buy two new cars when we have a fleet of cars that we could be using.”

She called for the cabinet to “rethink” the idea and was backed by the new mayor of Bournemouth, councillor Dave Kelsey,  who said new vehicles were not yet needed and instead called for existing ones to be shared between mayors.

Although Cllr Greene said he had “no beef” about removing the allocation, his fellow cabinet member, councillor Mark Anderson said he supported their purchase and the allocation of £90,000 for it

A decision on the allocation will be made by the cabinet next week.