Rain stopped York council's £500k electric bin lorries working

  • In Science
  • 2023-01-23 11:48:35Z
  • By BBC

Two electric bin lorries bought by City of York Council in a bid to cut carbon emissions were unable to operate when it rained, it has emerged.

Rain caused the wagons to be taken off the city's roads for up to 26 days a month several times last year.

The vehicles stopped working for a combined total of 481 days between January 2021 and November 2022.

The council bought the vehicles in 2020 as part of its drive to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.

Head of environmental services Ben Grabham said there had been "a few reliability issues".

Data from a freedom of information (FOI) request showed there was just one month - November 2021 - when both vehicles were on the road every day.

York resident and democracy campaigner Gwen Swinburn submitted the FOI request after noticing she saw the vehicles only "very occasionally".

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the issue was raised at a meeting by Councillor Pete Kilbane, who said the wagons cut out during wet conditions.

Mr Grabham said following reliability issues the vehicles were now back in service and operating "absolutely fine" after refits by the manufacturer.

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The cost of hiring temporary bin wagons while the electric ones were out of service had been met by the manufacturer, Mr Grabham added.

A total of 12 new bin lorries were bought by City of York Council in 2020 in a bid to reduce CO2 emissions from its fleet of vehicles by a third.

Two of the wagons were electric, the other 10 met Euro 6 lower emissions standards. The Euro 6 emission standard sets a legal requirement for a car manufacturer to average CO2 emissions below 98g/km.

Director of transport, environment and planning James Gilchrist told the meeting: "I think the reason we bought two - and not all - of the fleet as electric vehicles is for exactly that point.

"They are a pilot and 'lessons learned' piece, rather than going fully electric for HGVs in one fell swoop."

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