Councils place air-quality restrictions on commercial vehicle operators

Several local authorties are looking to introduce air quality measures that will restrict commercial vehicle operations, with Slough looking to introduce the first Low Emission Zone (LEZ) outside of London.

Slough Borough Council has secured funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to develop a low emission strategy, which is set to be published in spring 2016.

“The strategy is aimed at reducing NOx emissions from road transport within the borough. The objective is to comply with all NO2 limits by 2020, 10 years after we should be complying with the EU limits,” it said.

Last week, Wandsworth Council announced that HGVs and vans are to be banned from Putney High Street between 7am and 7pm, beginning January 2016.

The measure has been introduced, the council said, to reduce standstill traffic in the area and improve air quality.

Councillor Jonathan Cook said: “As well as reducing vehicle emissions this measure will have the added benefit of improving journey times for other road users, particularly the local buses that often get delayed because of parked vans and lorries in the high street.”

Leicester City Council is also looking at the possibility of introducing an LEZ. Earlier this year it put forward a proposal for an LEZ as one of 22 suggestions for the council’s draft Air Quality Action Plan.

The Scottish government has also proposed a country-wide LEZ, which raised concerns from various hauliers and transport organisations.

Pressure for HGV rush-hour ban intensifies

Pressure for a rush hour HGV ban in London has intensified after the London Cycling Campaign handed over a petition calling for the measure at City Hall yesterday (18 November).

The document, containing more than 13,000 signatures, also calls for the use of direct vision cabs throughout the city and stronger enforcement against non-compliant operators in the city.

The End Lorry Danger petition was delivered to London Assembly Members Andrew Boff, Darren Johnson, Caroline Pidgeon and Valerie Shawcross, all of whom are prominent figures in the lorry danger debate.

Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon said “A united voice by the London Assembly and the huge support for the London Cycling Campaign petition sends out a very clear message that real action is now needed to reduce the casualties and terrible waste of human life taking place on London’s roads.”

Valerie Shawcross added: “London should be taking a zero tolerance approach to all road deaths and, as part of that, doing everything we can to reduce the dangers posed to cyclists by lorries and HGVs.”

The move comes after the London Assembly unanimously voted in favour of a series of cycle safety measures, including a rush hour truck ban, earlier this month, a move which was rejected by the FTA.

Christopher Snelling, the trade association’s head of urban logistics, said: “The proposal for a rush-hour lorry ban is not a silver bullet solution.  What we are looking for is improved safety for everyone, and there are many elements which should be considered.

“For example while early morning is rush hour for cyclists, the peak time for pedestrians is later – we need to ensure that solutions do not bring unintended consequences. Better awareness, training and behaviour are needed on from all road users to make our roads as safe as they can be.”

Quiet & Efficient seminars draw the crowds at Freight in the City Expo

Last week’s Freight in the City Expo in London held a series of seminars exploring how urban logistics operations would need to evolve to service cities of the future, and looked at initiatives in place today that are already helping to drive this change.

David Beeton, MD of Urban Foresight, highlighted that London sees 280,000 freight journeys every day, compared with just 25,000 van deliveries a day in Amsterdam. “Companies need to create integrated urban platforms” – such as shared user consolidation hubs – to reduce the volume of freight, he said.

Gloria Elliot (pictured), chief executive of the Noise Abatement Society, discussed quiet vehicle technology and said that delivery vehicles so quiet that no one can hear them are “not so far away”. Quieter engines and roll cages were among the technologies she listed as already changing the face of night-time deliveries. However, she added, the country needs more government incentives to encourage and further this work.

In a session on rethinking traditional deliveries, the FTA’s head of urban logistics Christopher Snelling discussed the threat of a London lorry ban. “Needless to say,” he told delegates, “the FTA is opposed to the idea.” He added that while there is “no magic fix” for the pressing issue of cyclist and HGV collisions in the capital, a switch to vans could prove just as dangerous, if not more so to cyclists because of the increased number of vehicles this would put on the roads.

Freddie Talberg, chief executive of Pie Mapping, discussed how restrictions on freight in London can cause confusion and, subsequently, ineffective route planning. He cited an example in which operator Wincanton had been using a 25-mile route around the city to reach a second delivery point that was just a couple of miles away.

In the collaboration session, Mark Fell, divisional manager for sustainable mobility at Transport and Travel Research, explained how a business model could be made around consolidating retail loads to town centres. He said that for it to function as a business model, however, the option should be given to public sector users first and retailers second because they have shorter decision-making chains and are “more into the sustainability agenda”.

Sean Kelly, director of strategic solutions at Wilson James, spoke on what a consolidation centre can offer construction projects. He said the construction industry had an outdated understanding of the logistics industry, and that further understanding and planning would assist construction projects immeasurably.

Paul Davison, principal consultant for sustainable freight and logistics at Aecom, explained how an active freight quality partnership can provide an ideal platform for businesses, operators and authorities to communicate about freight and protect the sustainable movement of goods, adding that they will be instrumental in the government’s Northern Powerhouse agenda.

The final collection of talks addressed final-mile delivery and problems that arise in cities in the final stages of the delivery process.

Rob King from cycle courier Outspoken Deliveries told delegates that cities are set to become increasingly pedestrianised, and put forward bicycle delivery couriers as a way to keep cities moving in this scenario.

Natalie Chapman, head of policy for London from the FTA, gave advice to hauliers on handling parking penalty charge notices (PCNs). She said operators should keep a record of where PCNs have been awarded and use the data to identify their PCN “hot spots”, and tackle the issue from there by looking for alternative times or locations, or contact the local traffic authority.

Freight in the City Expo took place on 27 October at London’s Alexandra Palace.

XPO Logistics signs up to BOC’s gas refuelling station following purchase of 10 dual-fuel HGVs

XPO Logistics has become one of the first third-party companies to sign up to use BOC’s liquid natural gas (LNG) refuelling station in Teeside, Middlesbrough, after it purchased 10 dual-fuel HGVs.

The trucks, which run on a combination of LNG and diesel, are part of what XPO described as its “commitment to develop sustainable logistics solutions door to door”.

The station,  designed for BOC’s own fleet of 11 dual-fuel vehicles,  incorporates the industrial and medical gas business’s ‘zero loss’ refuelling technology developed by BOC, which uses cryogenic cooling to temperature-condition the fuel before it is dispensed.

Ian Marguet, general manager, bulk UK and Ireland for XPO Logistics, said: “We are delighted with the support that BOC has provided as we explore the potential of LNG as a clean alternative fuel to diesel within our heavy truck and tanker fleet.

“XPO Logistics shares BOC’s commitment to environmentally friendly transport practices.”

Mark Lowe, LNG business manager at BOC, added: “BOC is extremely pleased to offer XPO Logistics access to this important, environmentally friendly alternative to diesel at our new LNG refuelling station in Middlesbrough.

“BOC has a long-term commitment to play an active part in the transition to low-carbon transport and we look forward to continuing to work with XPO Logistics in the future.”