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Biffa trials electric refuse collection vehicle in Swale

Published Thursday 10 February, 2022
Last updated on Thursday 10 February, 2022

People could see the borough's first electric refuse collection vehicle collecting their refuse, recycling and garden waste as part of a trial by Biffa.

The trial is part of Swale Borough Council’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2025 and will provide the information needed for the new waste contract due to start next year.

The trial will run until the end of February to provide real time evidence of how an electric vehicle compares to its diesel counterpart. The new vehicle will collect refuse in Leysdown and Sittingbourne, recycling in Marine Town and garden waste all over Swale.

The electric vehicle will help improve air quality, and over the life of the vehicle could save almost £100 per day in running costs. It is also much quieter than the diesel and is easier for drivers to manoeuvre and lift bins.

Simon Baddeley, commercial director at Biffa, said:

“We’ve already reduced our carbon emissions by 70 per cent since 2002, and we plan to reduce this by a further 50 per cent by 2030.

“This is the first repurposed electric collection vehicle we’ve invested in, and although they are more expensive to purchase upfront, we expect to see cost savings throughout the 10-year life of the vehicle.

“Swale is a large geographical area with a wide variety of landscapes including towns, seafronts and caravan parks, the downs and some hard-to-reach countryside villages, so what we learn from this trial will really dictate how we move forward to a greener fleet in the borough.”

Cllr Tim Valentine, cabinet member for climate and ecological emergency at the council, said:

“Our waste contract currently makes up half of the total carbon emissions from all of the council’s operations, so it really is key that we tackle this if we are to meet our target of being carbon neutral by 2025.

“It’s essential that we move away from diesel vehicles and find greener and more sustainable ways of collecting waste.”

Cllr Julian Saunders, cabinet member for environment at the council, said:

“We’ve been seeking expressions of interest for our new waste contract which is due to start in October 2023.

“As part of the new contract we’ll need a service that is not only reliable and effective but also helps reduce our carbon footprint.”

Cllr Eddie Thomas, deputy cabinet member for environment at the council, said:

“Biffa will be using the electric waste collection vehicle on a range of different rounds to see what capacity it has to deliver what the borough needs.

“Residents will find the new vehicle is much quieter and crews so far have found it easier to manoeuvre which should also bring safety benefits.”