Leeds leads the way in the fuel for the future

The city of Leeds could be one of the first in the country to use vehicles powered by natural gas and to also sell it commercially.

Senior councillors today gave officers the green light to acquire the two acre plus former Yorkshire Water site, off Pontefract Lane in the Lower Aire Valley area, and to move forward plans to build an alternative fuel station.

The station will dispense compressed natural gas which will power, in particular bin lorries for Leeds City Council, but beyond that the facility will be offered commercially for the use of other fleets operating in the city.

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Presenting a report to a meeting of the Executive Board today, Coun Lucinda Yeadon, member for Environment and Sustainability, said: "This is a key part of the work we are doing around improving air quality when we go towards the Clean Air Zone. We are putting in infrastructure to help industry and the city make the shift. If we are not successful in developing it, there is the possibility that we can go further with other alternative clean fuels and that is something that we need to be looking at.

"It is incredibly positive and we are one of the first local authorities to be looking at alternative fuels in this form both in our own fleet and commercially."

The council report says the authority has been exploring opportunities for some time to reduce the impact on air quality of its own vehicle fleet and will have just under 100 electric vehicles by the end of the year - the largest fleet of its kind operated by any council in the UK.

In addition the council has been running a trial of refuse lorries that were fuelled by natural gas and as they have been successful the authority's bin lorries will be converted to compressed natural gas forming an anchor for the work of the new fuel station.