John Lewis Partnership is the first major operator to sign up to use a public-access compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station that will open later this year.

CNG Fuels has secured planning permission for the new station to be located close to junction 28 of the M6 in Lancashire.

It will be capable of 'fast filling' 500-plus HGVs per day, or as much as 3,500kg of CNG per hour, as well as also supplying 100% renewable biomethane (Bio-CNG).

Philip Fjeld, director at CNG Fuels, said: “Our customers can save more than 40% of their diesel cost, even after the recent drop in diesel prices, and cut CO2 emissions by more than 20% by using CNG.

"If fleets choose to fuel their trucks with Bio-CNG, they will be running on 100% renewable gas.”

Further public-access stations are also in the pipeline for CNG Fuels, he added.

Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, has a regional distribution centre less than one mile from Leyland LTS CNG station and will be the anchor customer for the CNG station.

Justin Laney, general manager, Central Transport, John Lewis Partnership, said: “We are proud of the efficiency of our distribution network, and a key element is running a low-carbon fleet.

"We see the use of methane, and in particular biomethane, as the main opportunity to make a step change in the carbon emissions of our heavy truck fleet.”

He added that the company is currently running 44 dual-fuel trucks that use a mixture of gas and diesel fuel, and is also exploring the possibility of running dedicated gas trucks.

Brit European will also be refuelling its CNG fleet at the new Leyland station, due to open in the last quarter of the year.

National Grid network strategy director, David Parkin, said: "Whether it’s CNG or Bio-CNG, the benefits for use as a fuel in HGVs is clear; lower emissions, quieter engine noise and favourable fuel prices, compared with traditional liquid fuels.”