Switching Council Vehicles for the Climate

Cheltenham Borough Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and is taking action on its pledge to reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

In December the Council’s Cabinet decided to switch its environmental fleet away from traditional oil-based diesel to biodiesel - certified palm oil free hydro treated vegetable oil. The latest generation of biodiesel may be formulated from a range of vegetable sources, including used cooking oil and rape seed.

Motor vehicles are the main source of carbon dioxide produced by the council and switching fuel to the new, cleaner, formulation of biodiesel should reduce associated CO2 emissions by up to 90%. Particulates - damaging specks of air pollution - should also be reduced by over 40% when compared with traditional diesel fuel, leaving the air we breathe less polluted. And the biodiesel we use will be produced from sustainable sources.

Meanwhile, the council has already installed electric charging points at its depot for lighter vehicles and two electric vans will replace diesels within the next couple of months. Unfortunately not all heavy vehicles are able to transition away from traditional diesel and other fossil fuels to alternatives at this time. But we are keeping emerging options under constant review on our journey towards carbon neutrality.

Cabinet member for climate emergency, Councillor Max Wilkinson, said:

“It is widely understood that petrol and diesel use needs to be consigned to the past. It’s yesterday’s technology. Emissions from our waste and recycling vehicles are the single biggest item in the Council’s carbon footprint. That’s why we need to make this progressive change in the immediate term. It will make a huge difference to our emissions, but there is much more work to do.”

Councillor Iain Dobie, cabinet member for Waste, Recycling and Street Services and Councillor Max Wilkinson, cabinet member for the Climate Emergency

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