COUNTY Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) has taken delivery of a Nissan Leaf electric car in a bid to meet the highest levels of environmental responsibility across all areas of its operations.

The Leaf is being used to transport staff and guests between its headquarters in Framwellgate Moor to fire stations and local authority offices.

Feedback from CDDFRS has been positive and making the switch to electric also means the service is able to cut its carbon footprint and reinvest money saved on fuel costs into other areas.

The fire and rescue service has taken delivery of its Leaf at a time when new headquarters are being finalised at Belmont, County Durham, with the move planned for this summer.

The new headquarters will feature three electric charging points on site as part of the service's plan to add more electric vehicles, as it looks to further expand on its environmental commitment.

Andie MacKay, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service head of asset management said: "Nissan's environmental policy and philosophy is reflective of our ecological vision to be a leading example in the community with a sustainable road transport fleet. It is hoped the partnership will bring enterprise benefits to both parties; the manufacturer of choice for an emergency service and the fire and rescue service aligning itself with a major employer and forward-thinking organisation in the area."

Staff collected the keys to their Leaf at Nissan's record-breaking Sunderland Plant, which has just launched production of both the Leaf and its lithium-ion batteries.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan's Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK said: "The 100 per cent electric Nissan LEAF is becoming the vehicle of choice for more and more fleet operators who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and insulate themselves from rising fuel costs."