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Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council will move away from diesel to fuelling its fleet with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil

In a major step towards reducing the level of carbon emissions across all of its services Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council will move away from ‘dirty’ diesel to fuelling its HGV vehicle fleet with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO).

An Alternative Fuels proposal was approved by the Council’s Cabinet this afternoon.

The move could be made as soon as next month and, based on last year’s usage, it could mean a reduction in emissions of up to 723 tonnes, or 33%, over a full year. 

The Leader of the Council, Simon Tagg, said: “One of the key strands in our Sustainable Environment Strategy is to tackle the authority’s fuel usage, the largest contributor to the Council’s current carbon emissions. This is also a top priority in the new Council Plan, which lays out our aims for the next four years.  

“Swapping to HVO is a big step and I am pleased that our environmental aims are being put into practice by our services without delay. The waste and recycling HGVs are the largest fleet of Council vehicles so this will make a huge difference.”

The benefits of using HVO include:

  • It is a genuine alternative to diesel but with a reduction of up to 90% in net CO2 emissions.
  • It is 100% renewable and fully biodegradable.
  • It can be used without adjustment in vehicles with Euro 6 engines. With the exception of one vehicle, a sweeper, all of the Council’s HGV fleet are fitted with Euro 6 engines.
  • It can reduce other emissions, such as Nitrogen Oxides and CO2

HVO costs more than white diesel. This could mean an increase of £60-80k a year, at a time when fuel costs are already rising rapidly. For the remaining 2022/23 financial year it could mean an extra £30-40k. Cabinet approved using elements of the Borough Growth Fund and the Budget Support fund to tackle these additional costs.

A Carbon Budget will also be set-up to support other initiatives that can be shown to contribute to the Council’s neutral carbon aim by 2030.

The Council’s smaller vehicles, such as vans and tractors, will continue to run on white diesel, but the technology is changing and improving at speed.

Cabinet member for environment and recycling, Trevor Johnson, said: “We are fully committed to our Sustainable Environment Strategy and the aims to reach net zero by 2030. To achieve this, and to make the changes needed to improve the Council’s impact on the climate and the environment both now and in the future, we are prepared to pay more.

“Of course, it’s only the Council’s HGVs that can benefit at the moment, but we won’t stop there. For the Council’s remaining vehicles, we expect that the technology around electric or hybrid vehicles will continue to improve. We will monitor the progress around this with a view to introducing lower emission vehicles across all of our operations as soon as it is viable.

“Work in this field is also progressing locally. I was one of a party of Council representatives who recently had a very enlightening site visit to Keele University, where we were shown some of their pioneering work on sustainable energy, including using hydrogen as fuel.

“The Council is very keen to work with and support the university’s research and also to consider any other potential carbon emission reduction or environment-friendly initiatives that may be presented to us.”   

To see the Alternative Fuels Cabinet report, click here: https://tinyurl.com/49pedzyr

To read more about the site visit to Keele, use this link: https://tinyurl.com/ycx5nk33

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