Refuse truck

Surrey Borough running ahead on bio-fuel


The first Surrey council to switch its entire vehicle fleet from diesel to waste fats and cooking oil said the move could cut emissions by about 90 per cent. Runnymede Borough Council said the decision, unanimously approved by its environment and sustainability committee last week, will stop about 650 tonnes of C02 from being released into the air each year.

The shift to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is expected to take place over the coming months as about 80 of the council’s refuse trucks, minibuses, vans, street sweepers and other vehicles make the switch.

It makes Runnymede Borough Council the first in Surrey to go all in on HVO with the change expected to make greater inroads into reducing the council’s operational carbon emissions than any other initiative explored to date.

Details on how much it will cost have been kept private and confidential but the day-to-day operating costs of moving over to HVO are expected to be higher than with diesel, the council confirmed, but said it had set aside an additional £100,000 to cover fuel costs.

A statement issued by the council said it demonstrated the desire “across all parties to make an effective and lasting positive impact on Runnymede’s climate and environment”.

Committee chair Councillor David Coen, said: “It is great to know that in the coming months our fleet, from our bin lorries to our road sweepers, will continue to provide the same high level of service whilst producing less harmful pollution into the environment and people’s lungs.

“We’ve committed that by 2030 all our council operations will be carbon net zero. Switching over to HVO has the potential of hugely reducing the council’s overall carbon emission.”

HVO can be used with the council’s existing fleet without the need for  engine modifications or new machinery.

Cllr Don Whyte,  leader of the Liberal Democrat group and member of the environment and sustainability committee added: “It’s a positive move. Runnymede is very late coming to the climate crisis declaration. This is a small step, but it’s an important thing.”

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