A weekly column written by members of South Holland District Council. This week with Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones, Portfolio Holder for Waste Management, Green Spaces and Operational Planning
Our refuse and recycling freighters must be one of the most familiar sights for South Holland residents, given that every one of our 38,500 household gets a visit from one of each, almost every week of the year.
Even if you don’t actually see the vehicle, it’s difficult to miss their distinctive sound, as they can be fairly noisy, especially at 7am!
However, over the last few months, there’s been an important change that should make our refuse and recycling collections a bit quieter.
Whilst our 12 new freighters will still be just as visible, with their shiny green paintwork and eye-catching adverts for the green bag lottery, the new vehicles come with a noticeable reduction in engine noise levels.
This is achieved via a more fuel-efficient engine and a sophisticated exhaust system that reduces the engine’s exhaust emissions. The shorthand description for this is Euro 6.
The new trucks also come with all-round safety cameras, making vehicle manoeuvring much safer for our loaders, for pedestrians and other road users.
One particularly clever feature is something called rear wheel steering. This allows for easier and tighter turning, whilst reducing significantly the wear and tear on both the vehicles’ rear tyres and the surface of the roadway.
The last bit should please our colleagues at county highways!
Of course, all this hardware wouldn’t be of any use without our hardworking collection crews.
Even though I’ve been the cabinet member for this service for nearly four years now, it still amazes me that one vehicle, a driver and two loaders can visit an average of some 1,300 dwellings every working day.
This number does vary depending on how rural a particular route is and how far the vehicle has to travel to tip its load, before continuing on its collection round.
However you divide it up, that’s an awful lot of miles, manoeuvres and reverses if you’re a driver and a huge number of steps taken and bags lifted, in all weather conditions, if you’re a loader.