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Electric waste lorries are rubbish

Wednesday, 4 October 2023 08:21

By Alison Stephenson, local democracy reporter

Image: North Devon Council

Fleet not powerful enough for North Devon

Rural roads and narrow lanes have put a dampener on North Devon Council’s waste and recycling fleet going electric. . . for now.

Electric fuelled heavy laden waste lorries are not powerful enough to cope with the rural geography, councillors were told at a strategy and resources committee this week.

Sustainability and climate officer Donna Sibley said: “The waste and recycling fleet cannot be electric for rural rounds and all the hills we have got so we are not sure how we are going to do that yet.”

She said the situation hasn’t been helped by the government pulling funding for a vehicle fleet review at the last minute.

Cllr Malcolm Wilkinson (Lib Dem, Mortehoe) agreed that electric vehicles are unsuitable in rural areas: “They use electric recycling vehicles in inner cities and it works but they cannot cope with the hills here, the battery charge is not good enough.

“They tried one in Torridge and it failed to get up the hill. Hydrogen vehicles may work better.”

Councillors were told that the current stock of waste and recycling vehicles would be kept for now until something better comes along that is right for North Devon. The council is trialling other electric vehicles and has an opportunity to electrify its parks’ fleet.

Receiving an update on its carbon, environment and biodiversity plan, councillors congratulated the officer for her hard work but said they needed milestones to know they are on track to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, together with rough costings. Cllr Malcolm Prowse (Ind, Bratton Fleming) asked if a specific fuel poverty report could be done as it is a big issues for residents. These requests were agreed.

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