Eco-friendly councils have been slammed after deciding to buy eight new diesel-powered bin lorries, with criticism that they are “all words and no action.”

South Oxfordshire (SODC) and Vale of White Horse district councils have decided to shell out more than £1.5m on the new waste vehicles.

It comes despite the councils’ strong stance on climate change with both aiming to be carbon neutral by the end of the decade.

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A joint statement from the authorities said the “limits of EV technology” meant it was “not yet viable” to convert to a fully electric fleet of bin lorries.

Oxford Mail: Cllr Ian Snowdon criticised the decisionCllr Ian Snowdon criticised the decision (Image: Ed Nix)

But Ian Snowdon, who represents Didcot West on SODC, criticised the decision.

The Conservative councillor said: “Despite all their comments and promises on leaflets, their actions speak louder than words.

“They haven’t got any joined-up thinking to tackle the climate emergency.

“It’s all words and no action.

“If we’re in a climate emergency and they need to take drastic measures, then why are they doing exactly what they say others shouldn’t be doing.”

The councils are set to jointly purchase six 26-tonne diesel lorries, each costing more than £190,000.

They have also decided to buy two diesel narrow access 18-tonne lorries for almost £180,000 each.

A £306,000 electric food waste collection vehicle will also be added to the fleet.

Their statement said: “Some of our waste fleet will need replacing soon, and so to help reduce carbon emissions and improve local air quality, we’ve been trialling electric vehicles on some of our rounds.

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“Following these trials, we are looking to buy an electric truck for food waste collections.

“Frustratingly, the current limits of EV technology mean they’re not yet viable for the larger waste trucks in our large, rural districts.

“We will keep the situation under review, but unfortunately, there’s currently no viable zero-emission option for our larger waste vehicles.”

Oxford Mail: Robin Bennett, Green group leader for South Oxfordshire District CouncilRobin Bennett, Green group leader for South Oxfordshire District Council (Image: Robin Bennett)

SODC Green group leader Robin Bennett said he was “very proud” of SODC’s strong policies on climate change and carbon emissions.

He said: "While the new vehicles being purchased will be more efficient than the ones they replace, I hope we can further investigate the use of recycled vegetable oil to fuel them.

"Although there are challenges around availability, cost and certification of such fuel, known as HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil).

“Of course, electric vehicles would be preferable; there are still limits in charging range when dealing with rural areas like ours, and they need specialised charging facilities which don’t exist at our present depot in Culham, which is soon to be vacated as it’s an allocated site in the local plan.

“We certainly expect that the council’s new waste depot will enable much wider use of sustainably-powered vehicles.”

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