In September 2021, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils became the first rural councils in the UK to switch our fleet to hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). By doing this, we slashed carbon emissions by up to 90%, and supported our carbon neutral aims.
The Councils’ fleet of 33 waste collection lorries - along with 19 of our smaller public realm vehicles - now use HVO.
By ditching diesel, we will see a significant reduction in pollutant emissions from our fleet - with up to a 90% reduction in CO2. It will also support a circular economy, as the certified sustainable HVO fuel is solely produced from waste cooking oil.
The move was approved by the Councils’ cabinets in January 2021. This forms a major step in our Carbon Reduction Management Plan, which sets out how net zero carbon emissions aim to be achieved by 2030.
Before HVO, the fleet represented just over a quarter (26%) of the councils' total CO2 emissions (approximately 880 tonnes per year). Following the switch to HVO, this reduced immediately.
Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, cabinet member for Environment at Babergh District Council, said:
"This is an exciting moment and a major step forward in achieving the council’s ambitions as set out in our carbon reduction management plan.
Our fleet and crews enable us to carry out some of our most visible work such as collecting your bin.
With HVO, we are dramatically reducing our council’s total emissions by just over a quarter, and working towards Babergh’s greener, brighter and healthy future. Furthermore, I am immensely proud that we are among the first rural councils to take this leap into carbon reduction."
Cllr Jessica Fleming, cabinet member for Environment at Mid Suffolk District Council, said:
"Helping to create bright and healthy futures for the next generation, while protecting the environment, is one of our most important jobs.
Moving to a greener and cleaner fuel like HVO, brings us significantly and immediately closer to achieving our ambition to be net zero carbon by 2030.
While we can’t create a cleaner and healthier environment on our own - we hope that by being one of the first rural UK councils, along with Babergh, to move our fleet to HVO, we can lead by example with others encouraged to follow."
HVO fuel provided the councils with a near-immediate and efficient way to reduce emissions. This is because (aside from slightly increased fuel costs and new tanks) the transition from diesel fuel to HVO required minimal changes to the Councils’ existing fleet.
The new fuel will cost between 10-15% more than the cost of using diesel. However, by using HVO, lower maintenance costs and longer engine lives for the fleet vehicles are expected.
Further information about HVO fuel
HVO fuel is odourless and biodegradable, and provides up to:
- a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions
- a 30% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions
- a 86% reduction in particulate matter
HVO fuel carries the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification, which is approved by the European Commission.
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