Councils investigate the potential of electric-powered waste fleet

Two councils are investigating when electric technology will be ready to power their fleet of refuse collection vehicles.

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service – a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council – collect around eight million bins in South Cambridgeshire villages and Cambridge City each year.

The shared waste service currently has 50 refuse collection vehicles (RCV) and 18 street sweeping vehicles all fuelled by diesel.

The current vehicles meet the highest environmental standards possible for a diesel bin lorry, but the trucks only travel between four and six miles to the gallon and cost the councils around £46,000 every four weeks to fuel the fleet.

A typical conventionally-powered RCV will consume around 70 litres of diesel a day, leading to the annual emission of 52 tonnes of CO2, 160kg of CO and 380kg of NOX gases. In comparison, the all-electric vehicle produces zero emissions.

Council leaders at both authorities have pledged to deliver changes to make the area carbon neutral in the future.

Electric RCV provider, Geesinknorba, brought a zero-emission vehicle to a Clean Air Day event at the shared waste depot in Waterbeach for a day of action to encourage people and organisations to take steps to improve air quality and health.

Geesinknorba says the all-electric vehicle is ideally suited to urban collections and is already operating successfully on a bin collection route in the city of Manchester.

We want to be green to our core at the Council and we will look seriously at anything that helps us to achieve our goals

Council bosses have said they hope moving to electric power for bin collections is not too far away as electric technology is improving at a rapid rate.

Cllr Bill Handley, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing, said: “The speed of technological progress in electric vehicles is breath-taking and it’s good to see that electric bin collection vehicles are part of that progress.

“A battery-powered bin lorry that weighs, fully loaded, 26 tonnes would have seemed impossible only a few years ago.

“We want to be green to our core at the Council and we will look seriously at anything that helps us to achieve our goals.”

Cllr Rosy Moore, Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: “Tackling pollution in the City Centre is really important and as a Council we want to be at the centre of the green agenda.

“Electric bin lorries are one of the ways we can do this, and it has been interesting to see first-hand what they are capable of.

“I’m excited to see the progress that is made over the coming months and years and we very much want to see electric vehicles driving up and down the streets in the city.”

The news following The City of London Corporation awarding a new “tech-driven” waste collection, street cleansing and ancillary services contract to Veolia.

As part of the contract, the City Corporation aims to become the first authority in the UK to run a fully electric fleet of RCVs.

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