The city council is aiming to halve its direct carbon emissions by 2025 as part of a wider drive to make Manchester zero carbon by 2038 at the latest in response to the climate change emergency.
Manchester City Council is to replace almost half of its refuse collection vehicles with emission-free electric alternatives.
Biffa, which holds the contract for waste collection and street cleaning in the UK city, has placed an order for 27 new electric refuse collection vehicles (e-RCVs) to replace diesel wagons which have reached the end of their natural lifespans.
It follows an agreement on funding with the council.
The move is a step towards delivering the council’s zero carbon action plan. It is aiming to halve its direct carbon emissions by 2025 as part of a wider drive to make Manchester zero carbon by 2038 at the latest in response to the climate change emergency.
"As a council we’ve said all along that we will have to do things very differently to realise our ambition to dramatically cut carbon emissions,” said councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods.
"We’re proud, together with Biffa, that our waste collection service is in the forefront of the forward-thinking response to the climate change challenge and we hope it will inspire others to follow suit.
"The only difference to the new service that residents should notice is that the new vehicles are quieter and cleaner."
The new vehicles will arrive and start operating in the autumn. The order is being placed with Blackburn-based manufacturer Electra. It follows an 18-month trial project in which a fully electric Electra vehicle did the same job as its diesel equivalent with no compromise on payload or operation with the benefit of zero tailpipe emissions.
"As a council we’ve said all along that we will have to do things very differently to realise our ambition to dramatically cut carbon emissions”
The switch to electric eRCVs will reportedly save around 900 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, cutting around four per cent of the council’s current direct annual emissions.
The commitment will cost the council £9.79m. This is marginally more than it would have cost for a like-for-like replacement with diesel vehicles but the difference will be largely offset by energy savings and the availability of grants over the new vehicles’ expected 10-year lifespan
"This major investment in new electric bin lorries is a great example of the council’s commitment to playing its full part in tackling climate change and will also contribute to better air quality,” said councillor Angeliki Stogia, executive member for environment. "We’ve seen during the coronavirus lockdown how less pollution and better air quality benefits everyone.
"Climate change is an urgent challenge which we are getting on with addressing."
The council and Biffa were supported and advised on the purchase by the Energy Saving Trust. The overall cost of the vehicles is being reduced through government plug-in grants designed to encourage a switch to electric vehicles.
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