Councillor Adele Barnett-Ward, Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods & Communities, with Reading's new electric refuse collection vehicle

Berkshire’s First All-Electric Waste Collection Vehicle Unveiled in Reading

  • First fully electric waste collection vehicle in Berkshire comes as a direct response to Reading's climate emergency
  • Vehicle will make collections from 1,400 houses daily and drive 8,000 miles a year with no tailpipe emissions
  • It is powered by clean electricity generated by food waste collections introduced by Reading Borough Council in 2020

THE FIRST fully electric waste collection vehicle in Berkshire has been unveiled by Reading Borough Council this week, in direct response to the climate emergency declared by the Council in February 2019.

The vehicle is powered by clean electricity generated by the food waste recycling scheme Reading’s residents are taking part in, and will save 32,200kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year compared to a diesel equivalent.

The new eRCV will make approximately 1,400 daily collections, and in doing so will drive almost 8,000 miles each year on clean electricity rather than diesel, with zero tailpipe emissions.

The Council has already lowered its carbon footprint by 63% since 2008/09, and electric vehicles are just one of the steps being taken since it declared a climate emergency.

The Council’s Carbon Plan 2020-25, developed in response to this, includes targets to reduce corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2025, be net zero by 2030, and a 50% reduction in fossil fuel use by 2025. Transition of the Council’s fleet from fossil fuel to electric, particularly the refuse collection vehicles, is a key element of this.

Reading Borough Council hopes to replace another six of its 26-tonne diesel refuse collection vehicles with electric versions next year, with the remaining six changed within three years to provide an all-electric fleet. The Council’s six food waste collection vehicles will also be replaced by electric vehicles before 2030, as vehicles of this type become available.

Adele Barnett-Ward, Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said:

“This is an exciting day for Reading as we are taking a huge step towards becoming carbon neutral by being the first Council in Berkshire to introduce a fully-electric refuse collection vehicle. It will make over 350,000 collections each year without using fossil fuel or generating tailpipe emissions.

I look forward to our entire fleet changing to electric vehicles over the coming years, and encourage everyone in Reading to participate in our food waste recycling scheme, which not only stops waste going to landfill but also generates clean electricity to power vehicles such as this. Thank you for recycling all that you can”.

The launch comes just before Reading Climate Festival, a week of events from 20 to 26 September designed to inspire positive action on climate change, helping residents, businesses, schools and community groups find out how to live more sustainably, make changes that will contribute towards our goal of a net zero, climate resilient town and gain a better understanding of how what we do locally makes a difference.