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Redditch Borough Council took an electric bin lorry on trial last week as part of work to probe alternative fuel options.

Bin crews put the battery-powered truck through its paces on their rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday (May 18-19), as part of the authority’s commitment to further cut its carbon emissions.

The trial truck was a ‘converted’ electric vehicle, a previously-diesel bin lorry that had been retrofitted and refurbished for a new lease of life.

Redditch Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services, Cllr Brandon Clayton, said: “From bin lorries to lawnmowers we’re looking into what alternative fuel options could be practical across the council’s various types of vehicles.

“You can see how far electric, for example, has come since this council bought its first electric utility vehicle back in 2011. We are going to be very interested to see the feedback from this trial, alongside other work to explore alternative fuel options.”

Every week borough council staff collect waste or recycling bins from over 30,000 homes in Redditch using nine bin lorries, which form part of the authority’s fleet of service vehicles.

Key to the council’s ambition of decarbonising that fleet is ditching petrol and diesel for alternative fuels, which currently range from electric to hydrogen, gas, hybrid engines and others, depending on the demands of the task.

And while lower-carbon alternative fuel vehicles come with higher price tags, they can cost less per mile to run than their fossil fuel equivalents which can help reduce the financial impact.

Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Cllr Anthony Lovell, added: “This council has long been committed to cutting carbon emissions and that commitment has only become stronger in this climate emergency where a green thread is running through everything we do. Part of that is forging a path away from diesel and petrol and towards more sustainable, lower carbon, alternative fuels.

“We’re looking into all the options, as all fuels have their pros and cons. Electric vehicles for example have some clear advantages, in that you cut carbon from the vehicle itself and then you can charge them with renewable electricity. The council already only uses 100% renewable electricity, whether bought in from an energy supplier or generated using our solar PV. But then electric has its limits and won’t be suitable for every purpose.

“With the clock ultimately ticking on fossil fuels it’s less a question of if we will do it, and more a question of when and how we will do it.”