As part of the council’s ongoing commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions, this innovative project positions West Lindsey at the forefront of eco-friendly practices in waste management. The installation of solar panels on waste collection vehicles aims to significantly reduce the fleet’s fuel consumption, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and lower operational costs, all whilst continuing to provide award-winning and reliable waste collection services to the district’s residents.
Councillor Stephen Bunney, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Member Group and a key advocate for the project said:
By harnessing the power of solar energy, we are taking a significant step towards a more sustainable future for our district. This initiative demonstrates our dedication to finding innovative solutions to combat climate change and reduce our carbon footprint.
The solar panels installed on the waste collection vehicles will generate electricity to power essential vehicle functions such as compacting and lifting mechanisms, as well as auxiliary systems. By supplementing the traditional fuel source with solar power, the council anticipates a reduction of around 600 litres in diesel consumption for each vehicle per annum and carbon emissions of more than six tonnes each year.
This initiative is the result of a collaborative effort between the council and technology company Vision Techniques, who provide 360 degree cameras to ensure safe operation of WLDC lorries. The project was financed through a dedicated fund for climate initiatives with a focus on creating a positive impact on the community and the environment. It aims to pay back within four years from fuel savings and reduced maintenance costs, thereby funding future projects.
The project was identified in the Council’s annual business planning process and in addition to the solar panel installation, the council is actively exploring other green technologies and practices to further enhance its waste management operations. These include the use of electric vehicles, recycling programs and community education initiatives.
Two new fully electric vans will arrive shortly to replace their diesel counterparts, with charging taking place at the Councils’ central operational base at Caenby Corner – a new, energy efficient building which received Government grant-funding for the installation of rooftop solar and battery storage. Along with electric vehicle charging points, other “green” designs include LED lighting and lighting controls, heating, cooling and hot water provided by air source heat pumps, and insulation to ensure working environments are comfortable for workers in a way that minimises carbon emissions.
Separate paper and cardboard collections were introduced for all residents last year in a significant step forwards for the district, as we move towards increasing our recycling rate and reducing levels of contamination. Any non-recyclable waste stays out of environmentally damaging landfill and instead goes to the Energy from Waste plant at North Hykeham where it’s turned into electricity and fed back to the grid.
By implementing these cutting-edge solutions, West Lindsey District Council is leading the way towards a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future for its residents and the planet. As part of our strategy to become carbon neutral before 2050, this type of sustainable thinking will become the norm for all projects across the council, ensuring we make investments in our communities, but also for the benefit of our environment longer term.
For information on the work West Lindsey District Council is undertaking to reduce its carbon footprint and also protect and enhance the environment, visit the information page here www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/climate