Liverpool City Council has announced it is launching the UK’s biggest eco-friendly fleet of refuse vehicles.

Powered by Biomethane, a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), the 20 strong fleet will help to cut the city council’s carbon footprint.

Each new wagon will cover more than 150,000 miles a year, and will produce 80% fewer carbon emissions and 90% less Nitrogen Oxide than the diesel vehicles they will be replacing.

The vehicles each have a Mercedes-Benz Econic chassis with Faun Zoeller Variopress body, a load capacity of up to 10.5 tonnes and a rear steering axle to easily manoeuvre narrow streets.

They are part of a drive to improve the collection and recycling of household waste across the city to help reach a target of recycling more than 55% of waste.

Liverpool Streetscene Services Ltd (LSSL), a subsidiary of Liverpool City Council, has invested £3.4m in the wagons.

The new vehicles cost 35% less in fuel costs compared to like-for-like diesel vehicles. A CNG station has been installed at LSSL’s refuse collection depot.

The crews will also see an improvement in their working conditions, according to the council, due to less noise, vibration and air pollution. They also have low cab entry and various features making them safer and easier to use.

The city council is also pressing ahead with a series of initiatives to continue the drive to a ‘Low Carbon Liverpool’ by setting an increased carbon reduction target by 2030.

This includes an electric street cleansing fleet and promoting the use of electric taxis.

‘This investment in a new fleet of refuse vehicles is a great statement of intent in our goal to make Liverpool a cleaner and greener city,’ said Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson.

‘The council inherited a tired and run down fleet which was inefficient, unreliable and costly. Having a brand new refuse fleet that is bigger, more efficient and safer gives our collection teams the right tools to ensure residents receive a more reliable service.’

Faun Zoeller Commercial Director, Stewart Gregory, said: ‘Liverpool City Council, and Liverpool Street Scene Services are a valued client to FAUN Zoeller.

‘We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the team at Liverpool over a number of years, and to have been able to assist in the integration of CNG into the fleet has been a valuable experience.

‘It is great to work with such forward thinking Local Authorities, and we are already in discussions with options for the future, including our Bluepower Hydrogen Powered vehicles.

'Collectively we are now in a position to advise our clients who are looking at alternative fuels to diesel.’

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability, Cllr Laura Robertson-Collins, said: ‘It is vital that we improve the air quality across our city. As a council we will do all we can to move away from the use of diesel and other fuels that compromise health, within our own vehicle fleet.’