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Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council reduce CO2 emissions by 89 per cent after changing to hydrotreated vegetable oil based fuel



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Two Suffolk councils decision to change the fuel their fleet of vehicles run on has seen them reduce their CO2 rates per kilometre by almost 90 per cent.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council became the first rural council to transition from using standard diesel to hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) in September last year.

The sustainable fuel was selected instead of other solutions due to its ability to reduce CO2 by up to 90 per cent.

Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi and Cllr Jessica Fleming show off the new HVO fuel tank. Picture: Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils
Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi and Cllr Jessica Fleming show off the new HVO fuel tank. Picture: Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils

In 2019, both councils declared a climate emergency and began their journey towards slashing their carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.

Just over 100 vehicles represent the biggest proportion of their total CO2 emissions, which equates to 880 tonnes per year.

However since making the switch, the recycling vehicles have travelled over half a million kilometres and used over 358,000 litres of HVO fuel - a reduction of 467,000kg across the fleet, equating to 89 per cent per kilometre travelled.

HVO fuel tank at one of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ depots. Picture: Babergh and Mid Suffolk DIstrict Council
HVO fuel tank at one of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ depots. Picture: Babergh and Mid Suffolk DIstrict Council

The change has also seen a reduction in maintenance costs of the fleet.

Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, cabinet member for environment at Babergh District Council, said: "The benefits of HVO in helping us to achieve the ambitions set out in our carbon reduction management plan have always been clear.

“But never could we have predicted just how resilient HVO would make us when the UK fuel crisis hit in 2021, enabling us to continue collecting bins without disruption to our services.”

Cllr Jessica Fleming, cabinet member for environment at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “The benefits of switching to HVO not only include having slashed our fleet’s carbon emissions by almost 90%, alongside reducing other pollutants, but also cleaner air for residents and our crews, and less maintenance costs and longer lives for our vehicle engines.

“This is a change that will continue to make Mid Suffolk, as well as Babergh, greener and healthier places for years to come, and we hope we’ve inspired others to follow our lead.”