This pioneering investment by St Helens Borough Council forms part of its wider fleet and operational modernisation, and its commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

The FAUN Zoeller Bluepower is a hydrogen-electric hybrid vehicle that uses an electric motor for drive and a hydrogen fuel cell to charge the battery while the vehicle is operating, meaning zero carbon emissions while in operation.

FAUN Zoeller UK have developed the vehicle with Daimler AG based in Stuttgart, St Helens Borough’s historic twin town in Germany.

As well as eliminating emissions, the partnership between the council and FAUN Zoeller will unlock development opportunities in green skills for staff with dedicated on-site support and training provided.

The vehicle could also be the subject of educational programmes in the community and with local schools and colleges, giving young people the chance to learn about hydrogen technology and the role it will likely play in powering the economy for years to come.

Cllr Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Transport, said: ‘Our aspiration is to be at the forefront of a green revolution taking place in the region – investing in renewables, diversifying the green skills of our workforce, future-proofing our services, hosting cutting-edge decarbonisation projects in industry and fostering climate action locally at grassroots.

‘Supported by investment in electrics and the most efficient diesel vehicles, we have confidence that our decarbonisation plans can be introduced in a managed way that doesn’t compromise service delivery to our residents.

‘This vehicle represents our faith in the renewables sector as both a service provider and employer, and our commitment to net-zero emissions by 2040, and I’m delighted to see it arrive in the borough.’