Hertfordshire fire appliances switch to cleaner fuel

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has switched to a cleaner, diesel-alternative fuel for its fleet of 162 vehicles, including its fire appliances.

In a move thought to be the first in the country, the fire and rescue service will be changing the fuel in its own fuel stores to Gas-To-Liquid, (GTL) fuel. GTL converts natural gas – the cleanest-burning fossil fuel – into high-quality liquid fuel that would otherwise be made from crude oil.

Historically, fire appliances have used diesel to get around the county, but as part of the service’s and county council’s commitment to sustainability and improving local air quality, HFRS has been working to identify a cleaner solution.

Fire and rescue service vehicles can either refuel at public forecourts, or they can access one of the service’s own ‘bunkered’ fuel sources.

Alongside the environmental benefit to using GTL, the move is also cost-effective. The service will spend roughly the same amount on the cleaner fuel each year as it was previously on diesel, and no money will need to be spent on modifying equipment at the bunkered stores to accommodate the change. The switch is much cheaper than replacing the service’s fleet with electric vehicles.

Currently, GTL is not readily available in retail stations, but the fuel can be safely mixed with diesel in the event that a fire engine needs to stop at a public forecourt to refuel.

Morris Bright, Executive Member for Community Safety at Hertfordshire County Council, said, “The move to GTL fuel is just one of the ways we’re making sure we have a fire service that continues to deliver a high-quality emergency response while considering how we can limit the impact of our vehicles on the environment.

“The introduction of Gas-To-Liquid fuel in our fire service vehicles is just one way that Hertfordshire County Council is reducing harmful emissions and improving local air quality for the communities that we serve.”

Katrina McDonnell, Head of Speciality Fuels at Certas Energy, said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to find cleaner ways to fuel their fleet. By transitioning to a cleaner burning fuel with Certas Energy, Hertfordshire County Council can minimise their environmental impact and reduce harmful local emissions of Particulate Matter and nitrogen oxides to make an immediate and positive difference to local air quality.”