THE stage has been set for creation of a new "advanced fuel centre" in Bradford that will allow upgraded vehicles to fill up on compressed gas.

The proposal will see the facility created at the waste centre on Bowling Back Lane, and is part of efforts to improve the District's air quality.

At a meeting of Bradford Council's Executive on Tuesday, members voted to back the £1.8 million project.

It will see the Household Waste Recycling Centre moved from its current location to another section of the site, with a new access road from Birkshall Lane.

A report to the Executive said work would start next year to upgrade the Council's vehicle fleet from petrol/diesel to greener energy.

Over seven years, 77 "heavy duty" vehicles will be converted to run on compressed natural/biomethane gas.

They would be able to re-fuel at this site - which the Council hopes to be up and running next year.

Referring to the vehicles that will be replaced as part of the scheme, the report said: "The vehicle types chosen are the heavy-duty fleet and on average they each consume 14,000 litres of diesel per annum."

Earlier this year the Council carried out a consultation on plans to introduce a Clean Air Zone that would cover much of Bradford city centre and Shipley.

Clean air zone plan hailed as 'momentous' step in improving Bradford's health

It followed a "ministerial direction" to Bradford Council from the government in 2018, ordering the reduction in pollution to legal levels as soon as possible.

If implemented, it would see the most polluting HGVs, busses and taxis charged up to £50 a day to enter the clean air zone. Owners of such vehicles would be offered grants to upgrade to less polluting fuel - allowing them to avoid the charge.

Private vehicles would be exempt from the Clean Air Zone.

At Tuesday's online Executive meeting Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said of the fuel centre plans: "I can't express how excited I am to see this on the agenda. This is needed for us to tackle the climate emergency, and is a sign we're moving in the right direction."

Andrew Whittles, Programme Manager for the Bradford Air Quality Plan, said there had been an assessment of the Council's vehicle fleet to see how it could be converted to more environmentally friendly fuel sources.

While electric power was the best option for vehicles under three and a half tonnes, the best option for 'heavy duty' vehicles was converting them to use compressed biomethane as a fuel source.

He told members other businesses have expressed an interest in using the site once it is up and running.

The Bowling Back Lane site will be subject to a "major planning application" in the near future.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, executive for Healthy People and Places, said: This uses new technology, and will benefit the district and its people.

"Let's get on with it."

The committee voted to back the scheme - making funding available from its budget, approve the re-location of the waste facility to another section of the site and move ahead with a planning application for the facility.

Northern Gas Network has applied to OfGem for an "Innovation Funding" award of £770,000 to cover the costs of accessing the high pressure main on the site.