North Yorkshire gritter and snow plough manufacturer, Econ Engineering has invested £250,000 in its contract hire division.
Econ operates the country’s largest hire fleet of gritters and snowploughs, and supplies hundreds of road maintenance vehicles to councils and contractors every year.
The firm is set to boost its contract hire fleet by a further 100 vehicles, taking its total hire fleet to 500 advanced spreaders, worth more than £50m.
The company, which is also the UK’s largest gritter manufacturer and one of Ripon’s largest employers, has bought a two-acre site adjoining the Econ manufacturing facility from Yorkshire Water for £150,000.
Harrogate Borough Council granted outline planning for a £100,000 extension to Econ’s current production facility and a vehicle storage area with space to park a further 100 gritters that will make up part of its hire fleet.
Work started on the site in March and the development is due for completion in May.
Andrew Lupton, joint managing director at Econ Engineering, commented: “We are seeing an escalating demand for Econ’s contract hire vehicles.
“The option to lease gritters and snowploughs that can be maintained on a fixed-cost basis suits many local authorities’ budgets and it’s an attractive alternative for many councils to owning their winter maintenance stock outright.”
He added: “We’re extremely proud to be one of the largest manufacturers in the area and we really value our skilled workforce, who we consider to be Econ’s greatest asset.
“It’s exciting that we are now looking to take on a further 20 employees to help us manufacture these state-of-the-art vehicles which are used by around three quarters of the UK’s local authorities.”
Econ currently employs 200 people at its Ripon manufacturing base, and offers an increasingly popular apprentice scheme.
The £30m turnover family-owned Ripon manufacturer was established in 1969 and has grown to become the UK’s leading supplier of gritting and snow plough vehicles, manufacturing eight new road mending and clearing vehicles every week.