by Lisa Bradley
The country’s biggest natural fuel station could be created in Leeds if plans are given the green light.
The idea behind the proposals is to encourage more businesses and residents to switch to more eco-friendly fuel, with the hope that a compressed natural gas filling station will make the move easier.
Members of the council’s executive board are being asked to approve the plan when they meet next week.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety, said: “We’re still at a very preliminary stage but we have an opportunity to be innovative and facilitate change so it’s right that we consider the options.
“There is appetite for people and businesses to switch their fleet to greener fuels but without the infrastructure we’re not going to see the scale of change that will bring about a significant improvement to our environment, air quality and ultimately people’s health.”
Compressed natural gas reduces carbon dioxide emissions by around a quarter.
The council would bid for more than £1 million from OFGEM’s Network Innovation Competition and work on the project with Northern Gas Network.
They would also invest more than £1.5m into converting the bin wagons to run off compressed natural gas.
Coun Dobson added: “ Stations do already exist, but there are no locations in the UK big enough to accommodate the large scale conversion of fleets.
“By committing to convert vehicles and working with the private sector to deliver a fuelling station for a mass market, Leeds City Council can provide a business case for investment and encourage growth in the sector.
“It’s still early days with much more detail to consider, but if approved, this could start us on a long-term journey to deliver a more sustainable future for Leeds with not inconsiderable health benefits.”
If plans go ahead, the station could be operational by mid-2017.