Blackburn with Darwen Council is to spend £1.35 million this year on replacing old vehicles.

The authority's executive board on Thursday will be asked to authorise the expenditure.

The new vehicles include bin wagons, a crane, vans and minibuses.

Tory spokesman Cllr Paul Marrow welcomed the replacement plan but suggested a proper rolling programme for fleet improvements could avoid such major spending in the future.

A report to the meeting by finance boss Cllr Vicky McGurk says: "The council’s vehicle replacement programme has identified that a number of vehicles in the council’s fleet are old and need replacing to reduce the impact of increased maintenance costs, also hired replacement vehicle costs and provide conformity with emission targets for engine efficiency.

"Vehicle failures can affect the delivery of key services to the public that can lead to reputational damage to the council.

"Cultural services, welfare and youth services have a number of vehicles over 10-years-old and beyond economical repair.

"The refuse collection team has three vehicles that are over nine-years-old and need replacing due to increased failure and repair costs.

"The street lighting team has an 18-tonne flat bed crane wagon that needs replacing due to safety concerns. This wagon is 16-years-old.

"The environment amenities team have two vans on hire that can be replaced by one larger panel van.

"The environment amenities team has already scrapped a 4x4 utility vehicle that was over 12-years-old and needs replacing.

"The public transport team have two community welfare buses that are 16-years-old and need replacing to effect regular and reliable service delivery.

"They also have a small van which is 13-years-old.

"The youth service team have a mini bus that is 17-years-old.

"The culture and leisure team have a large minibus which is 10-years-old.

"The highways team have two large tippers, which are 12-years-old. They also have a small van that is 17-years-old.

"The welfare team have six large minibuses. Two of these are 16-years-old.

"It is recommended the executive board authorise the replacement of these old and hired vehicles, using £1,350,000 of the £1.7m earmarked in the 2023-2026 capital programme for vehicle replacement.

"It should be noted that the council is attempting to move its fleet towards alternative fuels, although the cost effectiveness of this at present is with the smaller vehicles operated. The larger vehicles are still to use diesel.

"The council’s fleet transport manager is constantly reviewing options for alternative fuel usage and is seeking to switch the fleet at appropriate times."

Cllr Marrow said: "We need these new vehicles to for council staff to deliver services.

"You cannot collect bins without bin wagons.

"Perhaps we need a better organised rolling programme of vehicle replacement to avoid such big bills in the future."