The past met the future in Kensington and Chelsea in the form of two refuse collection vehicles, showing just how the latest technology can help the borough become carbon neutral by 2030.
The classic truck, a Dennis Eagle Delta with a Phoenix 18 body, is the same model run by the council back in the 1980s. After completing its working life and being sold on, the truck was found in a quarry in Devon and has been faithfully restored by Dennis Eagle, even appearing in the livery operators BFI used in Kensington and Chelsea, back in the day.
The new vehicle is a Dennis Eagle eCollect – an all-electric RCV which, with zero emissions and almost silent operation, represents the shape of things to come.
Dennis Eagle’s Aftermarket Director Geoff Rigg said: “Of course, the eCollect is the future but it’s also very much the present. This vehicle was launched last year and is already operating in several places around the UK.
“Putting it next to Kensington and Chelsea Council’s old Delta RCV, however, shows just how far we’ve come.”
The Delta model was built in 1989 before Euro I emission standards were introduced and an RCV from this era would have typically produced around 47 tonnes of CO2 per year as well as emitting nitrogen oxide gases, carbon monoxide, unburnt hydrocarbons and particulate matter into the air we breathed.
“Modern diesel trucks, such as those run by Kensington and Chelsea today, are much cleaner, of course and use only about two-thirds of the fuel the vintage Delta would have. But in contrast, the eCollect, produces no emissions at all,” added Geoff.
“Even the electricity it runs on is much more cleanly generated – with the UK sourcing almost half of its power from renewable sources.”
Kensington and Chelsea Council recently began a new contract with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK to operate its recycling and waste collections and street cleansing for the next eight years with an eight-year extension option.
SUEZ has been providing these services in the borough for more than 25 years and it has a repair and maintenance contract for its fleet with Dennis Eagle, which has also been running for much of this time, most recently renewed in April 2021 for another eight years.
Part of SUEZ’s contract with the Council will see the introduction of electric vehicles to the 80-strong fleet, helping the borough meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 while improving air quality.
There to witness the progress of technology with Geoff Rigg were Chief Executive Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK John Scanlon, Director of Fleet and Mobilisation Steve Holgate and Contract General Manager Gary O’Hagan. From the council, the Lead Member for Planning, Place and Environment Coun Johnny Thalassites and Head of Waste and Street Enforcement Matthew Lawrence.
Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea Coun Gerard Hargreaves said: “It’s always interesting to see the old beside the new and see how far we have come in terms of technology. Here in Kensington and Chelsea, we are already making our fleet of council vehicles greener and we are keen for our residents to have the option to do the same. That’s why we have installed more electric chargers per head of population than almost anywhere else in the country.
“Electric vehicles are a great way to reduce pollution and we have improved the vehicle charging infrastructure so that all residents live within 200m of at least one charging point. Projects like this one are helping us reach our 2030 goal of becoming a carbon-neutral council.”
Chief Executive Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, John Scanlon said: “We’ve had the privilege of serving the residents of Kensington and Chelsea for over a quarter of a century and during that time have seen our industry transform, with regular household recycling collections becoming the norm and residual waste diverted away from landfill. The next 25 years has even more change in store as we play our part in helping the UK reach net zero.
“Here in Kensington and Chelsea we’ve begun introducing electric vehicles into our fleet with cars and the next step will be electric collection trucks, supporting the borough on its journey to become carbon neutral by 2030.”