Three new electric-hybrid cars are being introduced to the Epping Forest City of London Corporation team in a bid to become the first UK authority to run a fully zero-emission fleet.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs have been specially converted to equip Epping Forest Keepers to carry out enforcement work, such as rapid response events and tackling fly-tipping.

Forest Keepers patrol Epping Forest 365 days a year, assisting the public, protecting the Forest from inappropriate damage or abuse and enforcing Forest byelaws.

Graeme Doshi-Smith, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest & Commons Committee, said:

“These new vehicles will help our Forest Keeper team protect the Forest and assist the public in a more sustainable way.

“We are committed to minimising our impact on the environment and these vehicles were the best choice for us to handle the demands of conserving this ancient woodland.

“Epping Forest is known as the green lungs of London, and these vehicles will help us to make sure it stays that way.

“Our ambition is to have a zero-emission fleet as soon as possible by removing, replacing or retrofitting any non-compliant vehicles.”

Two thirds of Epping Forest is recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation and home to over 50,000 ancient pollard trees.

The vehicles are capable of covering 28 miles, the option to use all-electric mode and the option to navigate the area with minimal noise and emissions.

They will serve the whole of the Forest covering around 2,400 hectares - equivalent to over 3,300 football pitches - stretching from Manor Park to just north of Epping.

Clive Messenger, general manager of Fleet Operations, Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, said: “We’re really pleased that our vehicles have been recognised as the best option to help them make the positive shift to ultra-low emission vehicles without impacting on the invaluable work they do in maintaining and protecting one of the country’s most beautiful environments.”

Epping Forest is London and Essex’s largest green space and is of national and international conservation importance, containing two registered historic parks, seven listed buildings and three scheduled ancient monuments.

The City of London Corporation’s green spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve.