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London borough unveils new electric fleet

The London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF) has unveiled a new fleet of electric vehicles.

The electric fleet, which has been supplied by Urbaser, the council’s neighbourhood services provider, includes an Electra 26t refuse collection vehicle, two Tenax International MaxVac electric mechanical sweepers, up to four MaxVac Vanguard vacuum sweepers, 12 Nissan e-NV200 vans, two Renault Twizy electric utility vehicles and 48 items of fully electric equipment such as hedge trimmers and leaf blowers for the grounds maintenance service.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Waltham Forest Council deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “We are taking the climate emergency extremely seriously and are looking at ways to reduce carbon emissions and minimise our impact on the environment across our key services.

“Introducing these vehicles to our fleet is a great step towards a cleaner, more energy-efficient and resilient borough.” 

The Electra refuse truck, which will be charged at the Waltham Forest Council depot, has been designed for a 12-hour shift, to cover 1,200 lifts per day and in excess of 60 miles.

The vehicle will be working in and around Walthamstow market and is fitted with a 287kWh battery pack and costs an average of £46 per day, which is approximately half the cost of running a conventional diesel refuse truck, says the council.

The vehicle is also much quieter and as there are fewer moving parts, such as a gearbox and transmission, there are fewer items to service.

Once charged, the electric sweepers, which are powered by lithium and lead acid batteries, can work for up to 10 hours before they require charging.

Pod Point charge points for the fleet of 12 Nissan e-NV200 electric supervisor vans have been installed at the council's town hall and the council’s Low Hall depot and Jubilee Sports Ground depot, as well as home charge points installed at supervisors’ homes.

Other charge points for the remaining electric fleet have been installed at the council’s Low Hall depot.

Javier Peiro, managing director of Urbaser, said: “Introducing this number of electric vehicles at Waltham Forest is a milestone and sets a precedent for other local authorities across the UK.

“We have been inspired by and taken guidance from the successful operation of alternative fuel and electric vehicles on our international contracts, in particular Barcelona

“We will continue to stay at the forefront in promoting sustainable technologies for environmental services, to address the climate emergency, reduce pollution and improve air quality locally.”

As part of its contract bid Urbaser has introduced a raft of additional measures to reduce pollution and improve recycling rates in the borough.

A fleet of the latest low emission refuse vehicles will work alongside the electric vehicles. Urbaser is also offsetting carbon emissions with a two-year tree planting scheme costing £75,000 that commenced in February 2021.

Urbaser has been working with the Council since 2013 carrying out street cleansing and grounds maintenance. The new eight-year contract to provide neighbourhood services now also includes waste and recycling collection and has an option to extend for a further eight years.

Photo:(left to right) Samuel Small, electric sweeper driver; John Paul Whittingham, grounds supervisor; Cllr Clyde Loakes, Waltham Forest deputy leader; Tony Parsons, service delivery manager streets and grounds; and Ian Hurst, senior contract manager Urbaser Waltham Forest. Courtesy of Waltham Forest Council.

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