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Truck fleet goes green

Published Wednesday, 14 June 2023
Councillors standing beside waste truck

Many of the council’s refuse trucks, street sweepers, vans and lorries have gone green after making a switch to hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO).

Since March this year, 23 of the borough council's HGVs have been running on HVO, a diesel created from 100% renewable and sustainable waste. 

The switch in fuel will reduce council carbon emissions by 25%, with HVO reducing carbon emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional diesel.

The vehicles that have made the switch to the renewable oil include 17 refuse trucks, two sweepers, two box vans, a skip lorry and a tractor.

Previously, the council’s HGV fleet accounted for a staggering 43 per cent of the council’s total emissions (953 tonnes CO2e). Refuse lorries accounted for nearly two-thirds of these emissions.

HVO is made from raw materials that otherwise would be discarded, including used cooking oil, animal fat from food industry waste, vegetable oil and fish fat. 

In production, impurities are removed from the raw materials before being hydro-treated at high temperatures to form a colourless, odourless fuel with an identical chemical composition to fossil diesel. It has a shelf life of 10 years.

The HVO the council is using has International Sustainability and Carbon Certification and guarantees that the HVO was not palm oil derived. 

It does not contribute to deforestation and there are no indirect negative climate impacts involved in its production.

As part of a continued effort to reduce carbon emissions, the council is also due to get five electric vehicles in September this year, including two caged tippers for street cleansing and vehicles for the housing repairs team.

Executive member for street scene services, Councillor Lynda Hodgkins, said:

This change makes a significant reduction in our emissions. Our HGV fleet is on a seven-year contract and we continue to explore electric vehicles, but this switch gives us really positive reductions in our CO2 emissions quickly.

Council chief executive, Bill Cullen, said:

Our street scene and repairs staff who are driving these vehicles are proud to be doing their bit to support the council’s commitment to carbon reduction to improve the environment in our local communities.