City of London

City of London to be first council to run fully electric refuse fleet

The City of London Corporation will become the first council in the UK to run a full fleet of electric refuse collection vehicles following recent successful trials of the new technology.

The first of the fleet of five new environmentally friendly trucks have arrived at Guildhall, the City of London Corporation’s headquarters.

The vehicles will form the UK’s first zero emission recycling and waste collection fleet and will collect residents’ waste and recycling in the Square Mile.

They will be operated by a waste management company who already deliver the City Corporation’s tech-driven recycling and waste collections, street cleansing and ancillary services operations.

The new 18 and 26 tonne trucks will be powered by lithium-ion batteries, rather than diesel and will help with the continued reduction of air pollution in the City.

Designed for urban environments with short routes, the vehicles can complete a full shift on one charge and will start their first rounds this month.

This operational first will be achieved using new innovative technologies for both the charging infrastructure and the vehicles, which will collect an estimated 20,000 tonnes of residents’ waste and recycling over the next six years.

The pollution-busting trucks are part of the City of London Corporation’s plan to ensure at least 90% of the Square Mile meets World Health Organisation guidelines for nitrogen dioxide by 2025.

In October 2020, the City of London Corporation launched its Climate Action Strategy, which aims to make the area net zero carbon by 2040, 10 years earlier than government the government’s target.

As part of these plans, the City Corporation committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions from its own operations by 2027 and across its investments and supply chain by 2040.

Commenting, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Port Health and Environmental Services Committee, Keith Bottomley said: “These new vehicles will help to further drive down air pollution in the City and improve the environment.

“Our fleet vehicles emitted about 400 tonnes of CO2e in 2018/19, so this change of fleet is of great significance.

“We hope this move will encourage local authorities across the country to follow suit in the urgent need to deal with toxic air.

“This pioneering fleet complements the work we’re doing to help businesses consolidate vehicle deliveries and use more hybrid models.

“Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health, with up to 36,000 people dying prematurely every year in the UK. 

“We will continue to take steps to ensure that we are reducing emissions from our entire vehicle fleet for the benefit of all.”

The City Corporation is taking a number of actions to fight back against toxic air in London, including piloting the UK’s first 24/7 zero emission street at Beech Street and will turn other parts of the Square Mile into zero emission zones by 2022.

New diesel vehicles have also been banned from the authority’s fleet where there is a clean market alternative and it is leading a London-wide crackdown on drivers who leave their engines idling when parked.

The City Corporation’s CityAir app provides over 35,000 Londoners with low pollution travel routes and it has introduced an Emissions Reduction Bill, which would give the capital’s local authorities tough new powers to tackle air pollution caused by boilers, construction machinery and diesel generators.

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