LIVERPOOL now boasts the biggest eco-friendly fleet of refuse vehicles in the UK as new compressed natural gas wagons start their service.
The 20-strong biomethane-powered fleet will help to cut City Council’s carbon footprint by producing 80 per cent fewer carbon emissions and 90 per cent less Nitrogen Oxide than the previous diesel vehicles, with each new wagon covering more than 150,000 miles a year.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson commented on the new fleet: “This investment in a new fleet of refuse vehicles is a great statement of intent in our goal to make Liverpool a cleaner and greener city.
“The council inherited a tired and run down fleet which was inefficient, unreliable and costly.
“Having a brand new refuse fleet that is bigger, more efficient and safer gives our collection teams the right tools to ensure residents receive a more reliable service.
“However, we still need residents to take action by reducing, reusing and recycling their waste enable us to hit our targets and reduce the costs to them.’’
The new compressed natural gas vehicles are part of a drive to improve the collection and recycling of household waste across the city to help reach a target of recycling more than 55 per cent of waste.
Each vehicle has a Mercedes-Benz Econic chassis with Faun Zoeller Variopress body, a load capacity of up to 10.5 tonnes and a rear steering axle to easily manoeuvre narrow streets.
Faun Zoeller Commercial Director, Stewart Gregory, said: “Liverpool City Council, and Liverpool Street Scene Services are a valued client to FAUN Zoeller.
“We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the team at Liverpool over a number of years and to have been able to assist in the integration of Compressed Natural Gas into the fleet has been a valuable experience.
“It is great to work with such forward-thinking Local Authorities and we are already in discussions with options for the future, including our Bluepower Hydrogen Powered vehicles.
“Collectively we are now in a position to advise our clients who are looking at alternative fuels to diesel.”
Liverpool Streetscene Services Ltd, a subsidiary of Liverpool City Council, has invested £3.4 million in the wagons.
A Compressed Natural Gas station has been installed at Liverpool Streetscene Services’ refuse collection depot – and the new vehicles cost 35 per cent less in fuel costs compared to like-for-like diesel vehicles.
Crews have improved working conditions with less noise, vibration and air pollution.
They have low cab entry and various features making them safer and easier to use.
The eco-friendly fleet is being specially wrapped with promotional material, designed by the council’s in-house marketing team, with messages about how best to tackle climate change.
The purchase follows the recent announcement that Liverpool is on course to meet its climate change targets – three years ahead of schedule.
According to recent government statistics, the city has already achieved an 18 per cent reduction in carbon emissions since 2012 and is on course to hit 35 per cent by the end of 2020.
The city council is also pressing ahead with a series of initiatives to continue the drive to a ‘Low Carbon Liverpool’ by setting an increased carbon reduction target by 2030.
This includes an electric street cleansing fleet, promoting use of electric taxis, introducing more LED street lighting and creating a new bus hub in Liverpool city centre – all of which is estimated to take a combined 5,000 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere annually.
The city council is also greening the city – having recently won funding to plant 750 new urban trees across the city over the next two years and is currently planting the first wave of 150 trees in the city centre with a sustainable drainage system to reduce surface flooding.
New cycle lanes are being created and the council is currently working on a business case to DEFRA which looks at the option of introducing a Clean Air Zone that will charge the highest-polluting vehicles.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability, Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, added: “It is vital that we improve the air quality across our city.
“As a council we will do all we can to move away from the use of diesel and other fuels that compromise health, within our own vehicle fleet.
“We are currently looking at a possible ‘Clean Air Zone’ in the city centre and are encouraging as many families as possible to walk to school.
“We have declared a climate emergency and all have to change the way we do things.”