Frome don't be surprised to see one of these out collecting rubbish after trial is a success

By Susie Watkins

10th Dec 2021 | Local News

The SWP inspect the vehicle
The SWP inspect the vehicle

A green rubbish collection revolution is quietly underway for the Somerset Waste Partnership as it takes on its first electric collection truck.

After a successful three-month trial in the Bridgwater area, an electric refuse vehicle has been bought and will be used on routes across the county.

Mendip District Council is covering the up-front costs, with all District partners paying the borrowing costs and benefitting from truck operating across Somerset.

It is remanufactured from a diesel vehicle with a 300 KW battery. It looks much the same as a diesel but is far quieter and has had great feedback from drivers and crew at SWP's collections contractor, SUEZ.

Most importantly, running the electric truck will save around 38 tonnes of carbon annually compared to the diesel version. And, thanks to being a refurbished truck than a new-build, it has saved tonnes of carbon in its manufacture.

Whilst more expensive to buy than a diesel truck, running costs will be around £8,000 less each year.

As it makes is way around the county, it will establish which routes could be suitable for electric vehicles.

Range limits mean electric vehicles will not work in all areas, but with some of its fleet due to be renewed in 2024, SWP wants to know which rounds could be suitable for a greener electric vehicle.

SWP is the first to operate Denis Eagle's refurbished electric RCV, and one of the first to operate any e-RCV on frontline services.

Reducing the carbon footprint of its operations is a key part of SWP future plans. As well as electric vehicles, in 2022 it will be installing solar panels at its depots in Taunton and Evercreech.

These are expected to save 52 tonnes of carbon per year, with up-front costs recouped in less than seven years of their 25-year lifespan.

Mickey Green, Managing Director of Somerset Waste Partnership, said: "When we're encouraging people to reduce, reuse and recycle to limit their carbon footprint, it's important that we challenge ourselves as well.

"We want to take carbon out of our own operations and these initiatives are important further steps in that direction."

Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: "The Council and SWP are serious about seeking solutions to reduce our carbon emissions. We must continue to explore ways in which our services can work towards our carbon neutral goal by 2030.

"We recognise that electrification of vehicles, such as this large refuse truck, will help us achieve this ambition, and the Council is delighted to be able to support this initiative financially, to help deliver one of our key priorities – a greener, cleaner Mendip."

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