DUMFRIES and Galloway has launched the UK’s first rural fully-electric bin lorries.
A pilot scheme funded by ScottishPower (SP) Energy Networks in partnership with the council will see two emissionless high-tech refuse vehicles begin collecting household waste in Dumfries and Stranraer from this week.
Replacing two diesel trucks in the region’s fleet, they’ll help to drive down carbon emissions locally and play a significant role in meeting the council’s 2025 net zero carbon target, whilst also reducing noise pollution in residential neighbourhoods.
Launching the initiative in Dumfries this week, SP Energy Networks CEO Frank Mitchell said the environmentally-friendly lorries are a “sign of what’s to come in all our towns and cities”.
He added that rolling out the fleet in a rural setting is a “really different challenge” to previous trials in urban areas.
“Typically, it’s much shorter journeys, stopping and starting all the time,” Mr Mitchell said, “whereas in Dumfries and Galloway you have stop and start, but then you have between villages longer journeys between them. And also, it’s just hillier.”
Furthermore, he described the environmental impact of having the new lorries on the road as “absolutely incredible”, adding: “These are zero emissions.”
And he explained that, as the vehicles will largely be charged-up using windfarm-generated electricity, they’ll have a “whole net zero life cycle”.
Meanwhile, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said the rollout “shows that the region is determined to meet those big climate challenges”.
He added: “We know that transport is the single biggest emitter of dangerous gases and if we’re serious about the climate emergency, we’ve got to reduce the emissions from transport and that means every form of transport whether it’s cars, trains or vehicles like this.
“There’s no doubt there are huge challenges to meet those targets we face and at this moment in time not enough is being done to do so – that’s why investment in vehicles like this is going to be so important, this is a pilot scheme of two vehicles in Dumfries and Galloway but ultimately within the next two decades every vehicle the council has in their fleet will have to be basically electric or hydrogen.”