TEN new state-of-the-art street sweepers have started work with Sunderland City Council.

The sweepers have joined the City Council’s fleet of more than 450 vehicles and are helping to raise the bar by brushing, spraying and washing as they go.

With their small turning circle the sweepers can access more areas and, as well as brushing up the highways, they can be adapted for use as winter maintenance gritters, snow ploughs, and as mini-tractors for load carrying.

The ten include the council’s first EV (electric vehicle) sweeper as part of a move towards an-all electric fleet. The council currently has 44 EVs (ten per cent of the total fleet) and their number is increasing with switches to more sustainable technology and more moves to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Cabinet Member for Clean Green City, Councillor Claire Rowntree said: “These new vehicles are a great new asset for so many of our important street and environment works.

“It’s very much one of this council’s top priorities to ensure we have a clean, green, maintained environment and the new sweepers bring many extra benefits for all this work.

“Investing in these sweepers shows how this council is committed to this work but it’s important to add that we can’t achieve this alone. Everyone has a part to play in keeping Sunderland clean by disposing of waste and litter responsibly so that, together, we have and are seen as a tidier and greener city.”

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Manufactured by Hako, a German company, the sweepers can capture particulate matter dust so they help local air quality and have multi-directional cameras. For travel to and between jobs, the sweepers have a top speed of nearly 40mph (62 km/h).

The ten new sweepers, alongside two spares, replace older technology and in total, with each one putting in around 40 hours every week, they are due to spend more than 20,000 hours on duty over the next year. They will be used across Sunderland from the city centre, local centres in Washington, Houghton and Hetton, or work after SAFC home matches and during major events.

This year the council will be spending around £4m running, replacing and updating its sweepers, vans, refuse collection vehicles, and grass-cutters and gritters.

Director of Environmental Services, Marc Morley said: “We have an ongoing programme of maintaining, replacing and updating all the vehicles that the council needs to help support our city. The new sweepers are part of this investment in having efficient plant and equipment for the many jobs we face.

“As we move forward on lowering our carbon emissions and having more renewable energy sources, we gave consideration to getting an EV sweeper. We can now monitor the EV sweeper and its performance as we expand our low carbon fleet and continue our work creating, supporting, and cleaning a green Sunderland.”

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