Westminster council is ‘going electric’ for a cleaner way to collect your rubbish

Local Democracy Reporter

A town hall is putting electric engines into two former diesel bin lorries as part of its commitment to improve air quality.

And if all goes well, the authority hopes to eventually make its entire fleet of rubbish-collecting vehicles free of carbon emission.

Working with waste-collection firm Veolia, Westminster council is trialling two upgraded 26-tonne trucks in a bid to improve air quality in residential streets.

Unlike their diesel engine predecessors, the batteries only run while the trucks are moving.

This means no energy is wasted as the lorries stop and start while workers collect rubbish from residents’ bins, so their battery life can last for a full collection route.

“They are expected to efficiently run for a full shift with no emissions produced,” the council said.
And rather than investing in new lorries, the council has “upcycled” two old lorries that were due
for the scrap heap.

The council and Veolia also hope this will “accelerate the transition” of all heavy goods vehicles in London becoming electric, and producing zero emissions.

Gavin Graveson, executive vice president of Veolia, said: “By converting existing vehicles and trialling alternative fleet solutions with forward thinking local authority partners like Westminster, we are not only preserving resources but are lowering emissions and creating greener cities.”

Councillor Tim Mitchell, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “Tackling pollution in London is an ongoing battle, and this pilot is just one of the many ways we’re making our daily operations cleaner and greener.”

Funding for the 18-month lorry renovation, and the upcoming two-year trial, came from Innovate UK.

The trucks use new technology from Magtec, a Sheffield-based company that makes electric-drive
systems for commercial vehicles.

The project has also seen two bin lorries in Sheffield converted.

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