WORCESTER City Council has agreed to spend £1.4 million on new bin lorries.
The city council’s Labour leadership has agreed to splash out on up to 10 new “super green” lorries after admitting the current fleet is too old, noisy and expensive to maintain.
It comes after months of agonising over what to do with Worcester’s present tally of 13 refuse vehicles, many of which are in a poor condition and need replacing.
The vehicles, which serve over 40,000 households in the city, continually need repair work due to their age, costing taxpayers money.
The council’s cabinet has backed a plan to buy super-modern vehicles boasting more fuel-efficient engines and electric bin lifts which use less energy.
They are also designed to be much quieter than the current fleet, which is out and about on Worcester’s streets as early as 4am.
The spending comes despite the council preparing to make major budget cuts elsewhere, with around £4 million needing to be cut by 2019.
Councillor Matthew Lamb, cabinet member for cleaner and greener, said: “We’re rightly proud of the work done by refuse staff in the city, this is one of the most outward facing services the council offers and people miss it when it’s not there.
“The council has 13 refuse vehicles but this is very much an ageing resource, 10 are more than seven years old and the oldest is 11.
"Breakdowns are increasing, the cost of maintenance is going up, they’re uneconomical to operate and the time has come for them to be replaced.”
The £1.4 million bill will be spread out over the next two years, £900,000 of which will be borrowed.
Of the total, £980,000 will be spent in 2014/15 and £420,000 in 2015/16.
The first of the new vehicles are then expected to come into action in the summer, replacing the oldest ones in the current fleet.
The spending comes two months after the Labour leadership ruled out proposals to launch food waste collections in Worcester amid fears it would cost too much.
Food waste pickups would cost £1 million to launch and around £544,000 for every additional year.
During last Tuesday's cabinet meeting, Coun Lamb said the new vehicles would be £50,000 cheaper to run every year due to lower fuel and maintennace costs.