Glasgow City Council has been awarded more than £800,000 in funding to convert 23 winter gritters to duel-fuel hydrogen. By early next year, Glasgow residents can expect to see the larger vehicles operating throughout the city.
The funding, awarded by Transport Scotland’s Switched on Fleets Fund, marks a significant step for the council’s ambition for a zero-emissions vehicle fleet. The strategy aims to ensure all of the council’s 2000 vehicles are emission-free by the end of 2029 and to see the introduction of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles to deliver crucial city services by 2030.
At present, the council’s vehicle fleet – which includes gritters, refuse vehicles, mini-buses and street sweepers – is ageing and in need of an overhaul, councillors said. Most vehicles are also powered by diesel which accrues a hefty annual fuel bill of more than £5 million.
Upgrades to the council’s fleet are expected to begin next year, with new electric cars being introduced early on in the year. Tower vans used to repair the city’s lighting columns are also set for an overhaul, while new electric road and precinct sweepers will be deployed around the same time.
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Councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said the new Fleet Strategy, formally approved today, underlines the council’s desire to lead the way in regards to eco-friendly services.
“To tackle carbon reduction in Glasgow effectively, it is essential the council gets its own house in order. Both transport providers and environmental campaigners are looking to the council to take a lead toward carbon neutrality for our fleet,” she said.
“Electric vehicle technology is evolving rapidly and will be able to support a wide range of tasks undertaken by our vehicles,” Richardson added. “But the green technology for heavier vehicles is still emerging so we have the opportunity to influence the market for ourselves and other major transport providers.”
Commenting on the funding, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson said: “Glasgow City Council is yet again leading from the front in taking steps to improve air quality and through their new plan to decarbonise their existing fleet of vehicles by 2029.
“The 2019/20 Programme for Government outlined our commitment to phase out the need for new petrol or diesel cars in the public sector fleet by 2025 and for all other vehicles by 2030. Glasgow’s new fleet strategy directly responds to this ambition and supports our Climate Change Plan alongside our ambition for Scotland’s air quality to be the best in Europe.”
Matheson added: “Transport Scotland officials have been working closely with Glasgow City Council to support this strategy and I’m delighted we are providing £805,000 from our Switched on Fleets Fund to convert over 20 gritters to dual-fuel hydrogen.”