9 months before new refuse collection vehicles arrive in York

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As attention focuses on the major backlog in waste collection that is developing in York, another “behind closed doors” decision has been taken to order 12 new refuse collections vehicles.

Two of the 12 will be electric vehicles. These vehicles cost approximately 2.5 times more than their conventional counterparts but are cheaper to run. They have range limitations.

There is only 1 supplier of these types of vehicle in the country and they say that January 2021 is the earliest that delivery can be expected.

The 12 vehicles will cost £3 million in total.

A further order is expected to be approved later in the summer bringing the total investment to over £6.6 million

Much of the Councils waste management fleet is well beyond its normal lifespan. This has resulted in unreliability with missed collections a feature of the last 18 months of operation. The COVID crisis has simply magnified the problems.

The Council has never satisfactorily explained why it did not continue its annual vehicle replacement programme to ensure that overall reliability levels remained acceptable.

It appears that indecision – prompted perhaps by a hope that more electric options would become available  –  led to unacceptable delays in placing orders.

The Councils internal scrutiny and audit processes should have  revealed the risks associated with such inaction.

Sadly that process didn’t seem to work.

Quite what quality of service residents can look forward to over the remainder of this year remains unclear.

York Council report May 2020

York’s new green fleet plan


City of York Council is set to transform it’s fleet of vehicles and become a leader in the fight to reduce the city’s carbon emissions with an ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The council will be taking a report outlining the full details to an Executive meeting on 19 March.

This includes reducing the carbon emissions from the council’s fleet (of 535 vehicles under 3.5 tonnes) by a third.

The fleet is valued at £15.3 million and includes 180 vehicles that are under 3.5 tonnes and 153 which are currently due to be replaced over the next three years. Together they emit a total of 1,763 tonnes of CO2 every year.

Under the new proposals, the council would like to transition to a green /electric fleet over a four year phased period.

This will include:

Year one: securing the infrastructure to enable an electric fleet to operate at council sites. Ordering three electric waste vehicles.

Year two: services that are ready for an electric fleet now can make the change as the infrastructure will now be in place.For those services that require some changes to the way they operate, a third of the vehicles will move to electric.

Years three and four.Those services that need a phased approach will be progressed to a 100% electric as quickly as possible.

The financial implications of moving towards an electric fleet would vary depending on the size and type of vehicle and would need to factor in the infrastructure costs to support the green fleet too at council sites.

In order to achieve this, a fleet replacement programme is proposed which will be considered on an annual basis as part of the annual capital programme. However, as option three is the preferred option – this is estimated to cost in the region of £2.22 million.

The council has already implemented a number of measures to address these challenges including introducing a clean air zone for buses and the transition of the Park & Ride fleet of buses to electric double decker buses will be completed this year.


Electric vehicle charging strategy for York revealed


City of York Council is set to introduce a new electric vehicle (EV) charging strategy which will transform and accelerate EV take up across the city.

A report detailing the proposal will be taken to a public Executive meeting on 19 March for approval.

This follows the authority declaring a climate change emergency in 2019 and approving plans to work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

If approved, the council will introduce Fast EV chargepoints to at least a minimum of five per cent of all its long stay parking bays in council owned car parks by 2023.

This will cost circa £800,000 and will be subject to successful external funding bids and reviewed as part of the development of the Local Transport Plan later this year.

To complement the enhanced fast charger network the council is also developing two Hyper Hub sites which will provide state of the art rapid and ultra-rapid facilities. Subject to securing further external funding, a third site is also being developed.

A part of the proposals will be to ensure it offers an equal opportunity for all users (with on street and off street parking) and to ensure that tariffs are set at a fair rate.

The current tariff of 15 p/kWh, hasn’t been revised since it was set in 2013, so a key element of the strategy is to review the tariff price point.

The council’s proposed tariff approach will take into account increases in electricity and running costs to ensure that the network is financially sustainable. During 2020/2021 it is proposed to increase the tariff to 20 p/kWh for fast chargers and 25 p/kWh for rapid and ultra-rapid chargers. All new rapid and ultra-rapid units will allow bank card payments for the same 25 p/kWh fee.

Regular users will have the option of signing up to a subscription Network where they will pay a monthly fee in return for lower usage tariffs.

Tariffs will be reviewed every year and electricity supplying the chargepoints will be part of the council’s energy contract which purchases renewable energy.

New conditions will also be introduced to ensure that users of EV bays are using them principally to charge their vehicles. Enforcement action could be taken where a vehicle is using a bay and is not plugged into the charging point. Time limits could also be imposed.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Newbury Avenue bungalows set to get first tenants

The Council has provided an electric vehicle recharging point  in the car park of the new bungalows which are reached completion in Newbury Avenue.

The bungalows look very smart, albeit completion of the work is behind schedule. The original decision to knock down the garages which were on the site was controversial because the York Council failed to address the chronic lack of off street parking lay-bys in the estate. The parking problem has continued to grow

Electric charging points are set to become a standard feature of new homes in the City.

The Council will consider shortly a report which looks at how electric vehicle charging point availability can be improved across the whole City.

Amongst the issues considered are the difficulties for electric car owners who live in terraced streets with no off street space available.

One suggesting might see charging points added to street lighting columns – although the costs of implementing such a programme would be huge.

York compares well on vehicle charging point availability

An interactive map published this weekend by the government indicates that York is in the top 20% of areas providing vehicle charging points.

Map showing charging point availability

It is similarly placed in a table showing rapid charger availability.

The figures are slightly less good for the number of charges per 1000 head of population

No information has been published on charger reliability or the average waiting times that motorists face when they need to charge their vehicles.

Click here to access the map

York to trial electric waste vehicle

City of York Council are set to trial a new state of the art, zero emission, electric refuse collection vehicle this week.

The vehicle is the first of its kind, using electric to both power the vehicle and compact waste, meaning there are zero emissions.

The three day trial will give the council time to see how the truck performs. The 27-tonne truck runs on lithium-ion batteries and is designed for urban environments with short routes and can complete a full ten hour shift on one charge.

Deputy leader of the council and executive member for the environment, Cllr Andrew Waller, said: “As a council we’re always looking at ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and emissions to improve air quality. Electric vehicle technology has progressed at an extremely quick rate over the past years, allowing larger vehicles to travel longer in between charges.

“We’re keen to see expanding our electric vehicle fleet with electric waste vehicles is a way in which we can look to reduce our carbon footprint without affecting the serve residents receive.”

Russell Markstein, Electra’s Commercial Director commented: “The City of York is the conclusion of six months of trials of the Electra in both urban and rural locations. York is the perfect environment for the Electra to operate, with zero emissions and near silent operation, the residents and businesses in the City will visibly see the Council’s efforts in reducing its carbon footprint”

The trial has been offered to the council for free from Electra Commercial Vehicles.

Electric vehicle recharging wrangle in York

There is confusion today about whether private vehicles can access the rapid recharging points at Monks Cross and Poppleton Bar.

The points were funded from a government(OLEV)  scheme but are largely used by the  First electric Park and Ride buses.

It appears that electric car drivers have been turned away from the points although they are shown as available on a vehicle charging “app”. The Councils iTravel web site says that vehicle charging points can be found on this map (click)

Apparently the Monks Cross rapid charge points have been recorded on the National Charge Point Register has having restricted access for cars. The Council says that a third party app has been advertising these as ‘available’ which has caused confusion for local EV drivers.

In response to an FOI enquiry the Council has confirmed that the dedicated chargers were used on 1157 occasions, using 22025 kWh of energy, during the first quarter of 2017

The Council says,

“the Monks Cross Park&Ride supervisors are able to permit cars to charge where this does not impact the bus service and this does happen occasionally however the buses have charge point priority as they have no viable alternative location. For cars, the nearest rapid charger is one mile away at The Sports Village and EV drivers are recommended to use these facilities instead”

.Range  anxiety is one of the main reasons for the slow take up of electric cars. Being certain that a charging  point will be available is of major concern for drivers.

Electric vehicle public rapid charging points

There are other charging points in York many of which are located on car parks and at hotels

York successful in Go Ultra Low Cities scheme

car recharging pointYork has been awarded ‘Go Ultra Low’ city status by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, becoming one of eight UK cities chosen as exemplars for the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles.

City of York Council continues to lead the way regionally, following today’s announcement that it’s the only city in Yorkshire to receive Go Ultra Low cities scheme funding. The Council has been awarded £816,000, following a successful bidding process that will fund an ultra low emission programme including a city wide network of rapid charging hubs. These will provide state-of-the-art, ultra fast, reliable and convenient rapid charging for key vehicle groups such as taxis, private motorists and business users.

So far use of electric charging points in York has been very low.

York first in Yorkshire to get rapid car charging points

York is the first city in Yorkshire to  run rapid car charging points. The rapid charging points can fill a car from flat to 80 per cent charged in just 20 minutes using high power 50kW chargers.

Charging points

Charging points

The rapid chargers will work by using either a swipe card or by downloading a free app, both of which are available from  ‘Charge Your Car’. The charging points are located at the Sports Village and Poppleton Bar (outside electric bus operating hours). They will also support the use of electric buses and taxis in the city.

Vehicle charging points used only 60 times in 3 months

The York Council has confirmed that its 6 electric vehicles charging points were use only 60 times (in total) last year.

The charging points cost £30,000 to install.

The Council has been criticised for not running – in conjunction with the trade – an effective campaign promoting the use of electric vehicles.

Indeed its latest budget proposals could see the parking charge discounts, currently available for low emission vehicles, further eroded.