Market shoppers and traders in the bustling south-east London borough of Lewisham are being spared diesel fumes after the introduction of a second refuse collection vehicle (RCV) with a Geesinknorba plug-in electric body on a Mercedes-Benz Econic chassis.

The RCV, provided on a contract hire agreement with NRG Fleet Services, made its debut at this year's historic Cart Marking ceremony in the City of London's Guildhall Yard.

It has been taken on by the council for a specific role: to remove waste that would otherwise accumulate around the traders' stalls, six days a week.

But while conventional refuse vehicles rely on their diesel engines to power the bin-lifting and the crushing and compaction cycle, Geesinknorba's electric body fulfils these tasks almost silently without the engine being switched on and so spares stall holders and shoppers the diesel fumes and the noise.

A similar RCV with a Geesinknorba plug-in electric body on a 6x2 Mercedes-Benz Econic chassis has been in operation at nearby Deptford Market since 2011.

Noel Everest, Lewisham's service group manager for passenger & fleet services, said: 'Our local markets are thriving but because they're in busy high street locations, they pose difficulties in terms of waste collection and removal services.

'We ruled out trucks with engine-driven bodies because they have to tick over all day to power the compactor, with resulting increases in local emissions. So we've been leaving a compactor skip on site at Lewisham market but that's not ideal because of the challenges arising from the need to drop and pick up the equipment in such a congested area.

'The plug-in body is an ideal solution, as it means the vehicle effectively acts as a mobile compactor skip. The body runs on electric power and so is very quiet. And when it's full ' which is usually by lunchtime ' the driver can leave the market with relative ease to tip.

'It then returns and remains on site, typically until 7.30pm, at which point it comes back to the depot for the body to be recharged overnight'

Lewisham's latest, 4x2 Econic 1830 is powered by an advanced 220kW (299hp) engine and incorporates several refinements to appeal to operators, including a driver's door with more height that also opens wider and a re-profiled floor that makes cross-cab access even easier.

Mr Everest added that the vehicle's safety credentials, comfort, and ease of access made it very popular with crews and he praised NRG Fleet Services as 'a good, professional partner'.