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Funding bid success will drive council vehicles to go electric

Published: 15 March 2024
An electric lorry fitted with a charging hose, parked in front of a landscape with trees in the foreground and tower blocks behind.

A joint bid by Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council has successfully secured £25,000 for an important research project to support an electric future for council vehicles.

The feasibility study will look at whether the depot at Warndon – home to the two councils' waste collection, highway maintenance and other vehicles – can be fully electrified.

The £25,000 grant funding has been provided by the Midlands Net Zero Hub to help the two councils reach their net zero ambitions.

The study will look into factors including the power requirements for running a full fleet of electric vehicles from the Warndon depot, the capacity of the power grid in the area and whether any upgrade is required, and the cost implications for a full electrification upgrade.

The City Council has set aside £40,000 for the project. This will be used to support the study at the Warndon depot and also to fund similar work at its smaller depot sites at Perdiswell, St Martin's Gate, Cripplegate Park and Astwood Crematorium. The City Council is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions under its Environmental Sustainability Strategy.

The County Council will also contribute £7,000 to the feasibility study for Warndon depot.

Councillor Karen Lewing, Chair of Worcester City Council's Environment Committee, said: "We are grateful to Midlands Net Zero Hub for supporting our aim of having a fully electric vehicle fleet, supporting the aims of our Environmental Sustainability Strategy.

"The City Council has already carried out trials with electric-powered waste collection lorries, and although the technology isn't up to the standard we require yet, advances in this field are so rapid that we are confident it will be in a very few years."

Councillor Mike Rouse, Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: "It is widely acknowledged that the future of travel will likely include a combination of electricity, hydrogen, and possibly synthetic fuels. Given this, it is prudent to assess the viability of investing in electric infrastructure at the Warndon depot, a site that presents complex challenges and requires expert analysis. Such an investment is anticipated to yield significant benefits for residents down the line by building councils that are fit for the future."

Alex Pearson, Midlands Net Zero Hub Projects Manager, said: "The Midlands Net Zero Hub is delighted to support the councils by providing some funding towards this study. This funding follows on from the successful 'Electrification of Depots' guide produced by the Hub and made available to councils across the Midlands."

With the funding secured, work on the feasibility study at the Warndon depot will begin shortly, to be completed before 31 July this year.

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