BARNSLEY Council are set to trial the use of hydro-treated vegetable oil - an alternative to diesel - on its vehicle fleet over the next year.

A report states the council will look to procure up to 54 new vehicles with a value of up to £4.053m through purchase followed by a sale and lease back arrangement.

Cabinet members will also be asked to conditionally authorise the procurement of a further 15 vehicles, with a value of £460,000.

These 15 vehicles are not currently funded, and procurement will not take place unless funding is confirmed.

As part of the new scheme, the council say they are determined to lower emissions and pollution from their fleet.

In 2019, the council declared a climate emergency with a commitment for the council to be zero carbon in its operations by 2040, and for the wider borough to be zero carbon by 2045.

A report states: “The reduction in emissions and pollution also has a low positive impact on the air quality of Barnsley - this is because of lower or no exhaust emissions from the council’s fleet as it carries out its work across the borough.

“Transport currently accounts for over 36 per cent of total council core carbon emissions.

“It is estimated that replacing diesel and petrol vehicles with electric vehicles would reduce emissions from transport by around 65 per cent currently and by 76 per cent by 2030 due to ongoing decarbonisation of the UK’s electricity supply.

“But this is absolutely dependant on affordability of EV vehicles.”

In a bid to lower emissions, the council are set to once more look into the use of hydro-treated vegetable oil on their fleet.

“In 2022 the council conducted a trial of hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) fuel,” the report added.

“This is an alternative to diesel.

“The results of the trial were very successful, showing a significant drop in emissions.

“HVO was not introduced to the full fleet at the time due to the additional cost.

“The fleet team will revisit HVO in the 2024/25 year to reassess the benefits and drawbacks, research will be undertaken by speaking to other councils that are currently using HVO for the full fleet.”

The council has said inflation has had an impact on the cost to the local authority in recent years.

The report said: “In previous years the ability to absorb inflationary increases has been managed by challenging the supply chain process to obtain a better than forecasted price.

“For example, one supplier had offered a previous 29.5 per cent discount, but they have significantly increased the base price of the product.

“Even by achieving competitive prices for replacement vehicles, the council are still paying more for replacement vehicles.

“The council has experienced large price increases for parts/materials.

“The independent review assessed this as approximately 12.5 per cent per annum.

“This has a significant impact on the revenue budgets, funding fleet maintenance.”