Aylesbury Vale gears up for a busy future
Residents and businesses in Buckinghamshire’s Aylesbury Vale can look forward to improved waste collection and recycling services following their local authority’s investment in a new fleet of 17 Mercedes-Benz refuse trucks.
Supplied by Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, all are 26-tonne Econic 2630 models with rear-steer axles for enhanced manoeuvrability. Prime contractor FAUN Zoeller (UK) is fitting their Variopress 2 compactor bodies and bin lifts.
Aylesbury Vale District Council is responsible for the mainly agricultural northern half of Buckinghamshire, an area that includes the county town of Aylesbury as well as Buckingham and Winslow. The low-entry Econics are its first Mercedes-Benz trucks, and offer enhanced performance, improved fuel economy and greater safety, compared to the leased vehicles they are replacing.
Local residents and commercial enterprises already recycle 54% of their waste, well above the national average. However, council chiefs are confident that the introduction of a new collection regime early next year will allow them to further increase recycling rates, while also leaving them best-placed to cope with the growth in demand which will inevitably result from a major programme of housebuilding.
The outgoing trucks had split bodies, with a pod at the front used for food waste, and the remaining carrying capacity allocated to general waste or recyclables. Under the new regime, the Econics will collect one waste stream at a time, allowing the authority to maximise payloads. The job of picking up food waste will now be undertaken by the five FUSO Canter 7.5-tonners which the council already owned, and a further four which it has also just acquired.
Moving forward with Mercedes-Benz: Aylesbury Vale District Council’s Transport Manager David Clark
Transport Manager David Clark played a lead role in compiling the business case for a wholly-owned fleet, as well as the new, bigger depot and workshop with Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) which is currently under construction in Aylesbury. He conducted extensive market research which included visiting several trade shows, fleet forums and other events, before producing a tender document for the new vehicles.
“We tried and tested products by a number of suppliers, and invited driver feedback,” Mr Clark recalled. “The FAUN Zoeller demonstrator was on an Econic and particularly well received. The chassis and body were neatly styled, and looked right together. We liked the robust but lightweight bin lifter, while the air-conditioned Econic cab, with its folding, bus-style passenger door, is easily accessed and contributes to safety by offering excellent visibility.”
The Econic 2630 is powered by an advanced straight-six engine which transmits its 220kW (299hp) output to the road via a six-speed, fully automatic Allison gearbox. Most of Aylesbury Vale’s new trucks are being fitted with Rotary XL lifts and will be assigned to residential routes. However, three will have heavy-duty Omega trade lifts, for commercial waste collections.
Drivers are now receiving training from Intercounty Truck & Van, on how to get the best performance from their Econics. The council will maintain its new trucks ‘in house’, with warranty and technical support, and an imprest parts stock, provided by the Dealer. “The promise of better back-up than we’ve been used to, was an important factor in our decision to switch to Mercedes-Benz,” confirmed Mr Clark.
He and Intercounty Truck & Van Fleet Truck Sales Director Stephen James were guests of Operations Manager Pat Brown on a visit to the FAUN Zoeller factory near Bremen, Germany, where they saw the first vehicles in build. FAUN Zoeller is a leader in its field, and the vast majority of its products are based on Mercedes-Benz Econics.
“Pat has provided excellent service from the outset, and the same is true of Stephen,” added Mr Clark. “He is honest, and passionate about the vehicles he’s selling, and that’s exactly the kind of person I want to do business with.”
Councillor Sir Beville Stanier, Aylesbury Vale District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said: “The Recycling and Waste Team led a very competitive procurement process to ensure AVDC obtained the best value for our residents and purchased equipment fit for purpose.
“This investment in a new fleet of refuse lorries is evidence of our goal to make Aylesbury a cleaner and greener borough. The delivery of these vehicles marks the start of a programme of improvements to our waste services that will ultimately deliver improved waste and recycling services for Aylesbury’s residents and businesses.”