As part of bringing the waste, recycling, and street cleansing service "In-House" from April 2020, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH) needed to replace vehicles previously supplied and operated by our contractor Veolia.
Most of the old Veolia fleet was aged and non-compliant with the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Only diesel vehicles with a Euro 6 low emission engine standard, Euro 4 petrol engine or electric vehicles, can enter the ULEZ area without being subject to an additional charge.
We allocated £10 million in capital funds to procure most of these vehicles. We spent approximately £9 million on larger cleaner diesel waste, recycling, and cleansing vehicles, all of which meet the current Euro 6 reduced emission standard.
Whilst the council plans to increase the use of electric powered vehicles, at the time we needed to deliver a fleet that could operate efficiently and costs effectively. The lack of widespread charging infrastructure, the need to maintain essential waste services, high cost and short operating range of large electric waste and cleansing vehicles did not make this possible.
The remainder of our fleet have been replaced on short term leases to enable us to introduce electric cars, vans, and some larger vehicles. This will happen when we have installed the required electric charging infrastructure and suitable vehicle can be supplied.
Further trials and early introduction of electric and electric / hybrid vans and cars is a priority in 2020/21. In addition, we are reviewing options and monitoring vehicle technology developments to plan for wider introduction of clean fueled vehicles in 2023.