Cambridgeshire electric bin lorry 'better for climate change'

Binman in Scotland Image copyright Alamy
Image caption The new electric bin lorry is expected to cost between £350,000 and £400,000 - about twice the price of a diesel version

A new electric bin lorry would begin a council's move away from diesel vehicles as it aims to improve air quality and tackle climate change.

Cambridge city councillors have set aside £375,000 for the new truck, which they say could also cut running costs compared to the current fleet.

Fuel for the council's 50 existing lorries and 18 street sweepers costs £46,000 a month.

The city council will vote on its draft budget at the end of February.

Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, which share waste collection services, said in June they were looking into purchasing electric bin lorries, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

'Better for air quality'

Labour city councillor Rosy Moore, executive councillor for waste management, said despite the electric vehicles being more expensive than the current model "we believe their life-cycle cost is either the same or could be cheaper".

"It will be better for air quality and in the long run it will be better for climate change," she said.

"It's an exciting technology... a lot of thought and care has gone into it."

Current lorries cost £185,000 each and "meet the highest environmental standards possible", it said, but can only travel up to six miles per gallon ((10km per 4.5 litres).

The running costs of the electric lorry are not known, but Ms Moore said installing solar panels at council sites to generate power could cut bills.

The council said scrapping the entire diesel fleet at once would create unnecessary waste, and instead planned to phase out the vehicles as they reach the end of their lifespans.

Electric lorries are already in use in some cities in Europe, and converted vehicles have been trialled in Sheffield and Westminster.

The draft budget will go before the strategy and resources scrutiny committee on 3 February, then full council later in the month.

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