Plans to spend more than £580,000 replacing or refurbishing five vehicles in Horsham District Council’s waste/recycling fleet have been approved.
During a meeting of the cabinet on Thursday (June 9), members agreed £400,000 could be spent on two electric compact sweepers for the town centre.
The money will also cover the cost of installing electric charging points in the Blackhorse Way car park. Another £101,000 will be spent on the refurbishment of two highway sweepers.
Toni Bradnum, cabinet member for recycling & waste, told the meeting that the vehicles were ‘reaching the end of their usable life’ and were becoming increasingly costly to maintain.
Upkeep of the compact sweepers stands at around £16,000 per year, with the highway sweepers costing £15,000 per year to maintain.
She said of the electric sweepers: “This will lead to a reduction in our carbon emissions and meets the council’s approach to climate change.”
The highway sweepers run on hydro treated vegetable oil.
Plans to bring in electric replacements fell through when it was found the range was not enough to meet the council’s needs.
Mrs Bradnum added: “We hope that in five years’ time technology will have improved to enable us to purchase electric or hydrogen powered vehicles.”
It was a view shared by James Wright, cabinet member for environment. He said: “The opportunities around the use of hydrogen in the future are very exciting. We are part of Hydrogen South East, which is looking at how we can link up future hydrogen infrastructure. We are a few years away from this and this recommendation allows us the time for that infrastructure to develop.”
The council has a fleet of 22 refuse collection vehicles.
The cabinet members agreed that another £80,000 would be spent on the refurbishment of one of the lorries.