Under a £20m Department for Transport (DfT) scheme, UK public sector organisations will acquire low carbon and all-electric vans to demonstrate the potential of new technologies.

The carbon reduction potential of the vehicles in real world conditions will be examined and further financially aided if initial trials are successful.

Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said that greener cars tend to grab all the headlines but emissions from vans have risen by around 40% since 1990.

“This is something we need to address as part of our carbon reduction strategy for transport,” Adonis said.

The vans will be used by six local authority groups and six large public fleets.

The four companies that will supply the vehicles include Ashwoods, Allied Vehicles, Smith Electric Vehicles and Modec.

Initial vehicle trials will last a minimum of three years and the programme as a whole is managed for DfT by Cenex, the UK Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon Vehicle and Fuel Cell Technologies.