Clean air: City Corporation to become first UK authority to run fully electric refuse truck fleet

The City of London Corporation will become the first UK governing body to run a full fleet of Electric Refuse Collection Vehicles (ERCVs) following recent successful trials of the new technology. The vehicles will form the UK’s first zero emission recycling and waste collection fleet and will collect residents’ waste and recycling in the Square Mile.

They will be operated by Veolia, who deliver the City Corporation’s tech-driven recycling and waste collections, street cleansing and ancillary services operations.


The new 18-tonne and 26-tonne trucks will be powered by lithium-ion batteries, rather than diesel, and will help with the continued reduction of air pollution in the City.

Designed for urban environments with short routes, the vehicles can complete a full shift on one charge and will start their first rounds this month. 

This operational first will be achieved using new innovative technologies for both the charging infrastructure and the vehicles, which will collect an estimated 20,000 tonnes of residents’ waste and recycling in the Square Mile.

The pollution-busting trucks are part of the City Corporation’s plan to ensure at least 90% of the Square Mile meets World Health Organisation guidelines for nitrogen dioxide by 2025.

The first of the fleet of five new environmentally friendly trucks have arrived at Guildhall – the City Corporation’s HQ.


Keith Bottomley, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environment Committee, said:

These new vehicles will help to further drive down air pollution in the City and improve the environment. Our fleet vehicles emitted about 400 tonnes of CO2e in 2018/19, so this change of fleet is of great significance. We hope this move will encourage local authorities across the country to follow suit in the urgent need to deal with toxic air. This pioneering fleet complements the work we’re doing to help businesses consolidate vehicle deliveries and use more hybrid models. Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health with up to 36,000 people dying prematurely every year in the UK. We will continue to take steps to ensure that we are reducing emissions from our entire vehicle fleet, for the benefit of all. 


Pascal Hauret, Managing Director, Municipal for Veolia UK, said:

At Veolia we work closely with our customers to deliver greener fleet solutions that also offer value for money. This new electric solution opens new possibilities for cleaner air in cities, with the potential of recharging the vehicles using electricity generated from the waste they carry via Energy Recovery Facilities. It marks a major step forward towards carbon net zero targets, and highlights how local authorities can drive sustainability and address their environmental challenges.

Keith Bottomley (City of London Corporation) and Pascal Hauret (Veolia UK)


The City Corporation is taking a number of bold and ambitious actions to fight back against toxic air in London.

It is piloting the UK’s first 24/7 zero emission street at Beech Street and will turn other parts of the Square Mile into zero-emissions zones by 2022.

New diesel vehicles have been banned from its fleet, where there is a clean market alternative, and it is leading a London-wide crackdown on drivers who leave their engines idling when parked.

The City Corporation’s CityAir app provides over 30,000 Londoners with low pollution travel routes and it has introduced an Emissions Reduction Bill which aims to give the capital’s local authorities tough new powers to tackle air pollution caused by boilers, construction machinery and diesel generators. 

The City Corporation has recently launched an ambitious Climate Action Strategy, which will make the Square Mile net zero carbon-emission by 2040, 10 years earlier than government goals. As part of the plans, the City Corporation has committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions from its own operations by 2027 and 2040 across its investments and supply chain.