Stratford-on-Avon District Council's Cabinet approves use of alternative fuel for refuse vehicles


Published on 15 January 2024
Archived on 15 February 2024

On Monday 15 January, Stratford-on-Avon District Council's Cabinet approved in principle, the use of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) for the refuse collection fleet.

The change is subject to the approval of the 2024/25 Revenue Budget, with the expected additional cost of changing to HVO being up to £250,000 a year.

In 2019, the District Council declared a climate emergency and announced three climate ambitions to achieve by the year 2030. One of the ambitions is to become a Net Zero Carbon Council by 2025 and to do this the District Council's carbon emissions need to be reduced.

A carbon emissions report for 2021/2022 found that the total carbon footprint of the District Council was 3,293 tonnes of CO2.

The most significant contributor to the District Council's overall carbon footprint is the fuel used in the refuse collection vehicles, which accounts for 1,147 tonnes of CO2 - 35% of the Council's overall carbon footprint. Therefore, to achieve the climate change ambitions, carbon emissions released from refuse collection vehicles need to be reduced.

Cllr Susan Juned, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council said: "There's no easy solution, but HVO can be a straightforward replacement for conventional fossil fuel diesel with no impact on operational requirements. It doesn't need specialist storage equipment and the vehicles won't need any changes; critically the HVO we'd be using will be produced from appropriately certified sustainable sources."

"This will be a temporary solution. Ideally in the future we will be able to get vehicles that run on biomethane or electricity. At the moment, this is out of the question due to the cost and our collection routes being longer than current battery technologies can support."

The biofuel such as vegetable oil or HVO to be used, is a fuel that is derived from biomass - a renewable energy source generated from wood, plants, and other organic matter.

The use of HVO as an alternative fuel has two main environmental benefits. Firstly, its use results in significantly lower carbon emissions when compared with diesel, with some reports stating that this can see a saving of up to 90%. Secondly, it has lower particulate matter and nitrous oxide emissions than diesel. This means that HVO represents a less polluting fuel option and can reduce contributions to poor air quality levels in an area.

It is also proposed that any HVO used will be sourced from a Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) accredited supplier and second-generation fuels will be used. This will allow the environmental benefits of HVO use to be realised, whilst ensuring that it is as sustainable as possible. It is proposed that a longer-term fixed rate deal is used when purchasing the HVO. This will ensure that any fluctuations in market value do not impact upon the total budget set aside for a transition to HVO and will be reviewed annually.

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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Contact: The Communications team

Last updated on 15/01/2024