North East employer the Banks Group has invested over £650,000 in a new fleet of regionally-sourced HGVs that will help to further reduce its vehicle emissions levels.

The County Durham-headquartered firm has bought six new Volvo FM trucks that conform with the latest Euro VI legislation, which demand a 80% reduction in Nitrogen Oxide emissions on the preceding Euro V regulations, as well as a 50% drop in particulate emissions and a 72% reduction in Hydrocarbon emissions.

The vehicles have been sourced through Volvo’s Truck & Bus Centres in Blyth and Washington, in line with Banks’ policy of investing in the local supply chain wherever possible.

They are also equipped with the latest Driver Assist safety technology, which monitors the situation on the road ahead of the HGV and provides auto-braking support if any potential dangers are detected.

The trucks are now being used to transport the coal being mined at Banks’ Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines in Northumberland and its Bradley surface mine in County Durham.

A full repair and maintenance agreement with the Volvo Blyth depot also forms part of the Banks investment.

Robbie Bentham, plant director at the Banks Group, says: “We take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously, and this investment will maximise the emissions reductions that we’re able to get from our fleet while also providing our drivers with all the vehicle features they need to do their jobs.

“Investing in the local supply chain wherever possible is a central part in delivering tangible benefits to the communities in which we operate, and having the expert Volvo Blyth team on the doorstep means we can keep our vehicles in service for the maximum time possible.

“Giving our highly-skilled teams the equipment they need to work in the safest, most efficient and most environmentally responsible way possible is an essential part of our overall operational strategy.

“The UK still requires coal as an essential raw material for our cement, steel manufacturing and other industries, and meeting this demand by using coal that is responsibly mined and transported from our operations, rather than increasing our already substantial reliance on imports from distant overseas locations such as Russia and the US, helps to further minimise related emissions.”

Adam Burt, workshop controller at the Volvo Truck & Bus Centre in Blyth, adds: “The FM range of trucks provides a step-change in reducing vehicle emissions, as well as offering safety features which help to keep both drivers and other road users as safe as possible.

“With our Euro VI engines, we take another leap towards cleaner transportation and reduced environmental impact. Our world leading diesel engines boost productivity and they cooperate perfectly with I-Shift gearboxes.

“The Banks Group is our biggest regional customer which, with two of their sites being so close to our depot, is great for our business, and we have a close working relationship with the teams on site and out on the road.”