Tuesday, February 2, 2016

London Opts for Radical Road Haulage Changes as Freight Vehicles Go Electric

Drive to Electrify the City's Cargo Infrastructure and Increase Safety for Cyclists
Shipping News Feature
UK – Transport for London has launched a new industry-led initiative to reduce the emissions from freight and fleet operators’ vehicles in and around London. Dubbed LoCITY, the five-year programme is set to work across the road haulage industry to increase the availability and uptake of low emission vans and lorries, and will also attempt to demonstrate, through research and real world trials, that using the cleaner vehicles will not negatively impact operations.

Bringing together freight and fleet operators, vehicle manufacturers, fuel providers and the public sector, LoCITY will aim to create new environmental operating standards and contractual clauses which procurement bodies can easily adopt.

LoCITY will focus on achieving three specific outcomes: increasing the availability and affordability of low emission vans and lorries; improving the alternative fuel infrastructure, such as electric charging points and the use of hydrogen fuel; and improving policies, procurement and land use planning to increase the use and viability of low emission vans and lorries. Mike Brown MVO, London's Transport Commissioner, said:

“Over the next five years LoCITY will begin improving London's air quality by encouraging the take up of low emission vehicles. We're working with vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure providers and the industry to make these vehicles a realistic choice for operators. Together we can improve London's air quality, and by supporting the freight sector, which is essential for our city to function, we will have a real impact.

“The Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety (CLOCS) programme has shown this style of collaborative industry-led approach works, many lorries of the highest safety standards are now in use. LoCITY will help the industry as a whole continue to develop, whilst delivering a cleaner London.”

LoCITY will support the Mayor of London's focus on improving air quality, and assist in efforts to increase the use of ultra-low emission vehicles in London. Speaking of the launch of the programme, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said:

“LoCITY will form part of a series of strong measures I'm delivering to tackle air quality and safeguard the health and well-being of Londoners, but I'm fully aware much more needs to be done. Helping the freight industry is key to the success of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone. I am confident that the strict tightening of our emission standards will help dramatically improve air quality and lower NO2 across the city.”

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone will come into force in London in 2020 and is anticipated will almost halve emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10) from vehicle exhausts in central London. Steps are already underway to remove the most polluting diesel vehicles from the roads, and as part of that work, the Mayor has provided almost £300,000 of funding to Gnewt Cargo, which receives courier vehicles into its Southwark hub and consolidates the delivery of packages across London with a fleet of 50+ electric vans plus ‘cargocycles’.

In another Mayoral decree Mr Johnson has said he would like to see extra glass panels installed in older lorries working in the capital. The aim is to further eliminate blind spots, particularly enabling HGV drivers to see cyclists and the like appear by their nearside cab door. This month a consultation will ask the views of road haulage operators, cycling groups and truck makers to try to establish a mandatory ‘vision standard’ for HGVs.

Mr Johnson estimated the cost of retrofitting suitable windows to be ‘around £1,000’ and this objective will now go in the mix with other measures under consideration such as electronic cab sensors. The mayor says all vehicles engaged in work working on TfL, Crossrail or Greater London Authority projects are to be fitted with the larger windows as a matter of course.