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Serco to pursue biofuel for RCVs

Serco Canterbury

Serco is to expand the use of biodiesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel for its fleets of refuse collection vehicles, having beaten Veolia to a waste collection contract with Rushmoor Borough Council.

The outsourcing firm won the 10-year contract and will take over from Veolia in July. As part of the new service, Serco will use hybrid vehicles fed by sustainable biofuels, cutting carbon emissions by 30%.

A spokesperson told MRW: “We have recently been undertaking a trial of B20 [20% biofuel blend] at a number of contract sites and locations in order to understand its effects on performance and emissions as part of a trial led by Transport for London.

“Elsewhere we are in discussions with CNG suppliers and vehicle manufacturers to understand the feasibility of CNG as opposed to biodiesel as a more sustainable fuel source, and technical discussions are ongoing.”

Under proposed new targets for the Government’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, the percentage of biofuel derived from waste other than used cooking oil could rise to 30%.

Transport minister John Hayes has said he wants to “provide a positive investment environment beyond 2020” to encourage the development of waste-based and advanced fuels.

The Rushmoor contract will mirror the existing Veolia service of weekly residual collections, fortnightly mixed recycling, and glass and fortnightly garden waste collections.

In 2014, Serco indicated it was considering exiting the waste management sector but in December 2015 the company said it would continue.

Robin Davies, environmental services business development director, said: “We have a strong pipeline of future opportunities and we look forward to continuing to develop our environmental services business.”

Martin Tennant, Rushmoor’s cabinet member for environment and service delivery, said: “From listening to our residents, we know that a weekly rubbish collection is very important to them. So we are really pleased that, as part of the new contract, these will continue, as well as many other exciting improvements, at no extra cost to the taxpayer.”

Veolia has been left disappointed in recent weeks, losing out on a local authority contract with East Cambridgeshire and seeing its 35-year agreement with Sheffield City Council broken up.

See the forthcoming April issue of MRW for a focus on transport fuel and sustainable vehicles

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