A carbon neutral council is one of the five priorities set by Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) as part of its future strategy. One of the main ways of meeting this is by building a new depot, replacing the current aging facility on the Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate. This will allow for the parking, electrical charging and maintenance of IBC’s vehicles. The new depot will and provide a home for the Council’s refuse, recycling, street cleaning and housing maintenance teams.

Ironically, after a 10-year search for a suitable 10-acre site, a site next to the old site became available. This is the former Le Bronze Alloys site, behind Sainsburys on Hadleigh Road. As it is slightly bigger than IBC needs, a 1.5-acre portion of the site will be developed as light industrial units after the depot is completed.

The site is adjacent to the River Gipping and all necessary steps will be taken to ensure that it does not have a detrimental impact on the river or any other part of the environment. A comprehensive drainage system is buried underground to smooth the water flow and prevent flooding.

The project incorporates a new warehouse building, two storey office building, a standalone Vehicle Maintenance Unit (VMU) and all associated external works including wash bay, refuelling area, various storage areas, extensive EV charging, substantial hard-standings, and landscaping.

The site also includes a separate Vehicle Maintenance Unit (VMU) for maintaining IBC’s 184 vehicles. This will prevent vehicles from needing to leave site for repair, reduce the potential carbon footprint of repairs (e.g. when vehicles must be towed or transported to another facility) and minimise repair times.

The design provides much better working conditions for employees and will make it easier to maintain the high standards of safety. There will be a one-way system for safety because reversing of Heavy Goods Vehicles will not be needed.  In terms of carbon reduction, the infrastructure for an all-electric fleet will be put in place and carbon neutral buildings.

The installation of a bulk fuel tank will give greater security of fuel availability and an ability to make use of ultra-low emission fuel such as HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil).

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is used the measure the sustainability of buildings and is independently assessed. The highest rating is “Outstanding” and the site is being developed with this in mind.

The building work is also part of the assessment. This meant soil cleansing and stone crushing (of demolished buildings and foundations) was done on site. This kept 2000 lorry loads off the roads and an equivalent number from bringing loads in.

I was pleased to visit the building site before Christmas and was shown round by the contractor, Mannings.  They are a company from Northern Ireland, though all the employees on site are local.  They are looking to set up a base in East Anglia and I’m sure Ipswich would be a great place to do that.

Mannings had 40 people on site before Christmas and the workforce will peak at around 100 in the Spring.  They are confident of finishing work in October 2024.

There will be parking for 184 vehicles.  The site has its own electricity substation, though electricity will be generated on site via solar panels.  There will be extensive tree planting.

The new depot will enable us to continue meeting IBC’s refuse and recycling needs and be a base to maintain our council homes for decades to come.

The BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating for environmental sustainability will play a big part in meeting the Council’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030.

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