LoCITY can help small businesses keep pace with emissions regulations, says FSB

The industry-led LoCITY programme is offering practical help for local independent businesses looking to keep pace with emissions regulations in London, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Denise Beedell, FSB development manager for Greater London, said the impartial guidance provided by LoCITY will help time-pressed small business owners make informed vehicle buying decisions.

“Quite contrary to popular belief, most small business owners aren’t against environmental improvements. Indeed, many go into business because they want to do things better than the corporate world,” she said.

“But at the end of the day, they are there to make a profit and one of the hardest parts of people embracing more sustainable attitudes and behaviours in their own operations is the huge challenge of obtaining relevant and timely information.”

The FSB is a national organisation that represents the interests of small and micro businesses, using evidence-based campaigning to help influence policy-makers and politicians.

In London, the FSB engages regularly with stakeholders like TfL and City Hall on key policies such as the mayor’s Draft Transport Strategy and the Ultra Low Emission Zone.

Beedell said her London-based members fully recognise the need to support air quality proposals to improve the health of those living and working in the capital.

“But equally, and this is where my job comes in, I need to talk to the policy-makers to make sure the small business community aren’t the ones who have to bear a disproportionate burden of costs to pay for all these aspirations. Let’s get a fair deal,” she added.

LoCITY will therefore play a vital role in helping small business owners invest wisely in their business vehicles and give them the information they need to make informed choices.

“Providing the right information and guidance are really, really important,” said Beedell. “Because they simply don’t have time to do the research. They also don’t have the experience or expertise to understand things the way a fleet manager in a large distribution company may do.”

She added: “LoCITY provides a really positive, independent forum to put forward sensible information that has been checked out. It’s trusted; it’s not trying to sell things to people and aligns with what the FSB does.”

Beedell will be speaking at the LoCITY annual conference, which this year takes place at Freight in the City Expo in London on 7 November.

Register today for your free place!

Tevva Motors and Aquafuel amongst Low Carbon award winners

The commercial vehicle sector was recognised at last week’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Low Carbon Champion Awards held at the Energy 2017 at Birmingham NEC.

Now in their seventh year, the awards aim to celebrate the achievements of organisations and individuals who are leading the way towards low-emission road transport in the UK.

Tevva Motors’ range-extended electric truck scooped the SME award for low carbon innovation, which it jointly shared with Aquafuel Research.

While the judges also awarded the Cross River Partnership the title of Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year for its FREVUE project that explored the viability of electric freight vehicles in real-life urban operations.

CNG Fuels won the Fuel Initiative of the Year Award for its work on introducing a grid-connected CNG site at Leyland now used by the likes of John Lewis Group.

Both Iveco and Volvo Group were finalists for the Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer title, which was won by bus firm BYD, while operators Martin Brower and London Borough of Hackney reached finalist stage for the operator accolade.

The Grand Prix – or winner of winners – award was presented to TfL, BYD (bus manufacturer) and Go-Ahead London (bus operator) for their partnership in delivering the vehicles, operational capacity and infrastructure to begin running London’s first two all-electric bus routes.

Urban logistics innovation in the spotlight at Freight in the City Expo

Freight in the City Expo has secured an exciting line-up of speakers for this year’s seminar programme, which will be professionally chaired by broadcaster Simon Jack.

Innovation is the dominant theme of the day, with speakers exploring emerging vehicle and infrastructure technology being developed and trialled in the UK.

The session will be introduced by Innovate UK, which is helping to support a large number of freight-related schemes this year through government-funded programmes such as:

TfL’s LoCITY programme will take to the stage for the second morning session, with a packed agenda looking at the goals of the mayor’s draft transport strategy for London and work taking place to help encourage uptake of cleaner freight vehicles.

There will also be an insight into research and trials taking place to develop low-emission vehicles for the waste collection sector, as well as a look at what other UK cities are doing to tackle air quality in urban areas.

In the afternoon, delegates will be able to interact with a top panel of speakers from across industry on key topics affecting urban deliveries, such as HGV safety, alternative fuels, consolidation, road charging and city regulations.

The day concludes with an all-important session dedicated to policing and safety of freight vehicles in urban environments.

Alongside the seminar programme will be the expo’s biggest-ever exhibition of the latest trucks, vans, equipment and technology designed for city freight movements.

Freight in the City Expo takes place on 7 November at Alexandra Palace, London.

It is free to attend and a must-visit event for anybody involved in planning, delivering or receiving goods in an urban environment, so we do hope to see you there!

Register today to secure a place!





Fraikin’s compliance and technology guidebooks available at Freight in the City Expo

Fraikin will be giving away free printed copies of its latest ‘What You Need to Know’ guidebooks at next month’s Freight in the City Expo in London.

They have been designed to help commercial fleet operators stay up-to-date with key legislative issues and changing technology in the road transport industry.

The ‘Sustainable Transport and Clean Air’ guidebook is essential reading for operators working in an urban environment, according to the rental and fleet management firm, and will help inform them ahead of crucial fleet investment decisions.

It includes topics such as Euro-6 and beyond, ultra-low-emission zones and future fuels, and gives details of where operators can turn to for independent advice.

“It’s clear to many in the sector that the road transport industry has to become more environmentally aware than it is at present,” Fraikin sales director Colin Melvin told Freightinthecity.com.

“Operators with urban fleets understand this most, with a myriad of legislation coming into effect that will directly affect their operations.”

He added: “At Fraikin, we work hard to be ahead of this curve, offering fleet solutions that suit the requirements of any customer operating in an urban environment.”

The second guide available at the show will be ‘What You Need to Know on Vehicle Safety’ and will include information about recent developments such as the proposed direct vision standard in London, as well as refreshers and best practice surrounding the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Both 12-page guides are also available to download free of charge.

Fraikin said the new guidebooks revive a popular series of booklets it produced a decade ago on essential topics such as Driver CPC and digital tachographs, which saw tens of thousands of copies requested by fleets.

Further guidebooks in the range will be published later this year.


Fleet Source to focus on safe, low-emission driving skills at Freight in the City Expo

Training firm Fleet Source will be on hand at this year’s Freight in the City Expo to talk to delegates about its range of urban driving courses for commercial vehicle drivers.

LoCITY Driving, for example, is a Fors and DVSA-approved course that helps van and HGV drivers learn techniques to help mitigate their vehicles’ environmental impact on urban areas.

It focuses on the link between driving styles and fuel efficiency, journey planning, and alternative fuels.

Training is delivered as a one-day classroom-based course, complemented by separate e-learning modules for drivers and transport managers. It also counts towards a driver’s CPC requirement.

Other Fleet Source driver training courses include Safe Urban Driving, Van Smart and TruckSmart, which are all Fors-approved.

This year’s free-to-attend Freight in the City Expo will take place on Tuesday 7 November at Alexandra Palace, London.

It features a full day’s seminar programme, with an exciting exhibition of the latest urban vehicles, equipment and technology emerging onto the market to make deliveries cleaner, safer and quieter.

The expo will also be hosting TfL’s LoCITY progress event, which is an industry-led, five-year programme to increase understanding and uptake of low-emission commercial vehicles.

“We are thrilled to be involved in this year’s Freight in the City Expo,” said Nick Caesari, MD at Fleet Source. “The event provides a great opportunity to share our commitment to helping the commercial sector to reduce it’s impact on the environment.”

He added: “As London grows, so does traffic congestion and air pollution. This has a major and damaging impact on public health. Nearly 9,500 people die early each year in London because of poor air quality.

“Our LoCITY Driving course features classroom-based modules to help drivers and transport managers reduce the environmental impact of commercial vehicles.”

Renault Trucks Master aims to sign, seal and deliver for courier sector at Freight in the City Expo

Renault Trucks will be making a special delivery at this year’s Freight in the City Expo with a brand-new product launch aimed at the multi-drop courier sector.

Making its debut at the urban logistics-themed event, the Renault Trucks Master Optilogistics van is designed to meet the challenging requirements of busy parcel carriers as part of the new ‘Ready for Business’ range.

It will feature a host of “robust, practical options” that courier firms often seek to retrofit following delivery of a new vehicle, according to the manufacturer.

“When you speak to fleet operators, they often take a standard van and spend an awful lot of time adding to it,” said Renault Trucks head of LCV, UK & Ireland, Grahame Neagus.

“We’ve taken the operational wish list of these customers and created a model, in conjunction with Bri-Stor Systems, that has them as standard,” he said.

While Renault Trucks is keeping the full list of options under wraps until launch day, Freightinthecity.com can reveal they will combine both safety and operational benefits, including:

  • Robust door design to prevent hinge failures on hard-wearing, multi-drop duties
  • Hard-wearing fabrics on both seats, carpets and mats
  • Brand-new retractable racking and cargo-restraint system
  • Integrated on-board weighing to prevent illegal vehicle overloading
  • Advanced five-camera system for vehicle and pedestrian safety

Perhaps the most important element within the new Optilogistics package is an industry-first inclusion of a digital alcolock system as standard to prevent a driver operating the van under the influence of alcohol. This is linked to the van’s telematics system to also inform the transport office if a driver fails the test.

Neagus believes the new van package is a “very compelling vehicle for the parcel logistics sector” and said Renault Trucks has worked closely with its customers to get the specification right.

“This is about thinking like the operator and developing a product in tandem with them. This understanding of what commercial vehicle operators are seeking is what sets us apart from other large van manufacturers, with compliance and safety at the very heart of what we offer” he added.

Renault Trucks’ Master Range is available from 2.8 tonnes to 4.5 tonnes.

The Optilogistics model will be available to order on all new Euro-6 vans from 8 November, with an electric Master also available during next year.

  • Freight in the City takes place on 7 November at London’s Alexandra Palace. It is free to attend and features an exciting exhibition of urban logistics vehicles, technology and services, as well as a complementary full-day seminar programme.

Register now to attend!


Metropolitan Police offering security and compliance advice at Freight in the City Expo

The Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Unit will be offering a free-of-charge safety and compliance  surgery for operators and drivers at this year’s Freight in the City Expo.

Officers will be on hand at the urban-logistics themed event to provide guidance on a number of common challenges that operators face delivering into busy cities.

Advice will be available on topics including:

  • Drivers’ hours and tachograph use including the operators responsibilities in relation to record keeping.
  • CPC obligations, operator and vehicle obligations under Construction & Use plus Road Traffic Legislation, and potential draft legislation that may impact hauliers.
  • TfL initiatives within London, such as Safer Lorry Scheme, Clocs and the Direct Vision Standard.
  • The effect of Thames Tideway and Heathrow Airport construction projects on HGV use and congestion.
  • Road traffic collision advice and general policing matters.

Sergeant Wayne Watling will also be taking part in the conference programme to talk about some of the key work taking place around London to protect operators from the threat of terrorist and security incidents.

He will look at current Metropolitan Police initiatives to improve the security of HGVs and operating centres in and around the capital, as well as offering sensible advice for drivers to limit the risk in the event of a vehicle hijack and to ensure they always park securely.

Freight in the City takes place on 7 November at London’s Alexandra Palace. It is free to attend and combines a packed seminar programme focused on urban logistics best practice, with a large exhibition of vehicles, technology and services for city operations.

Register today for your free place.

Interim star rating for Direct Vision Standard released as HGV safety standard proposal emerges

cycling in London

TfL has released interim tables showing the first batch of HGVs to be star-rated under the Direct Vision Standard (DVS), while seemingly also softening the impact of the scheme on hauliers.

Revealed last year, the standard is seeking to introduce a rating system running from zero to five based on the level of direct vision a driver has from their cab.

Trucks with the lowest, zero rating would have been banned from London by 2020, with only those achieving three stars or above permitted entry from 2024.

It had been feared that as many as half of trucks travelling into London could be banned from the later date.

However, the update, published late last week after calls for more information, contains a new proposal to develop an HGV safety standard, which would recognise equipment such as cameras and audible warning devices fitted to trucks.

If approved, the proposal would see all HGVs over 12-tonnes requiring a permit to enter London from 2020.

Those with a DVS rating of one star and above would then automatically be granted a permit, while those trucks rated as zero would have to have sensors, visual warnings and undertake ‘comprehensive’ driver training before a permit is granted.

TfL added that the safety permit scheme would “evolve over time, taking into account advances in technology”.

From 2024 only those rated three stars and above, or which have an advanced safety system, would be allowed on London’s streets. The details of the advanced safety system will be included in an autumn consultation.

There has previously been no dispensation for in-direct aids despite hauliers having spent thousands of pounds on them in recent years to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety.

Trade associations gave the latest plan a cautious welcome but said more detail around star ratings was still required.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “This only highlights the scale of the issue and reaffirms what we’ve been saying for some time, that the vast proportion of existing HGVs will not meet their currently proposed standards.

“It is positive that we now have an opportunity to work with TfL and the industry to find an effective solution to improve road safety in a balanced way and to have recognition that the issue is complex and will require a lot more work to ensure that the best possible road safety benefits are obtained.”

Burnett added that the RHA would be pushing for reassurance from TfL that any charges for the new permit scheme would cover its administration only, and not amount to a “tax on operators”.

SMMT director of communications Tamzen Isacsson said: “It’s important that the scheme recognises the role technology, including in-cab cameras and vehicle sensors, plays in improving road safety, alongside regulations governing visibility in HGV cabs.

“However, we want to see policies which encourage the uptake of the latest and safest low emission vehicles, so clarity is urgently needed on what the final ‘star rating’ system will look like.”

Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the Mineral Products Association (MPA), said: “MPA members, our construction colleagues and TfL have made great progress in improving safety awareness and taking action through the CLOCS initiative.

“We support the mayor’s drive to improve the direct vision of HGVs and look forward to engaging positively in the consultation and implementation processes.”

Operators and manufacturers give thumbs up to DfT driving licence proposal to aid alternative fuel vans

Operators and manufacturers have given strong support for a DfT proposal, currently under consultation, to allow category B (car) licence holders to operate heavier vans if they are fitted with alternative fuel systems.

It has been welcomed by those firms wishing to increase their use of low-emission delivery vehicles without losing out on payload or needing to acquire a category C licence.

The DfT proposes that standard licence holders be allowed to drive vans weighing up to 4.25 tonnes if they are powered by electricity, natural gas, LPG or hydrogen.

It says this will help level the playing field by addressing the payload penalty that puts operators of cleaner vans at a commercial disadvantage compared with conventional vehicles.

Launching the consultation, transport minister Jesse Norman said: “We want to make it easier for businesses to opt for cleaner vehicles, and these proposals are designed to do just that.”

Road traffic estimates show there has been a rapid rise in HGV traffic over the past 20 years. In 2016 vans clocked up 49.1 billion miles – an increase of 23% when compared with 2006.

Ocado head of fleet Stuart Skingsley said: “At Ocado, we are keen to incorporate the latest low-emission technologies in our vehicle fleet, but we have been unable to do so due to the extra weight of the technology and category B licence restrictions.

“This vital derogation would allow us to field the latest alternatively fuelled vans, reducing harmful emissions and improving the UK’s air quality.”

Payload is paramount

Iveco alternative fuels director Martin Flach told Freightinthecity.com that customers are increasingly looking at low-emission vans. However, for those operating 3.5-tonne vehicles, payload remains paramount, and this has resulted in a lower take-up of alternatively fuelled vehicles.

“As a key alternative fuels vehicle manufacturer that believes in sustainable transport, Iveco has been campaigning on this for several years, so we’re delighted with the proposal that has been made,” he added.

“If the plan is accepted, we believe it would boost the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles and improve air quality. The vehicles are available, we just need the government to ensure businesses are being given the opportunity to make the most of them.”

His view was echoed by Chris Jones, head of sales at electric vehicle manufacturer BD Auto (vehicle pictured), who told Freightinthecity.com he was pleased the UK was considering a proposal already in place across other European countries.

“In the UK, we are lagging behind our European counterparts, and if we are to address the issues of air quality in our cities then action must be taken to remove any barriers to adopting electric commercial vehicles.”

He added: “Many of our customers welcome the proposal and several 
have already lobbied the government on these reforms in order to place electric commercial vehicles on to their fleets.”

Phil Eaves, director of supply chain at organic food delivery specialist Farmdrop, said: “Under these proposed changes, more businesses will be able to satisfy the demand for home deliveries without dirtying the air.

“As the only online grocery company to operate an electric-only fleet, access to larger vehicles would be beneficial to Farmdrop as we can make more deliveries with fewer vehicles,” he added.

Feeling the weight

Gas supply firm Gasrec has also been lobbying for the government to allow extra weight to accommodate alternative fuel technology, and welcomes the proposal.

CEO Rob Wood said: “The driving licensing regime reduces the driver pool available for alternative-fuelled HGVs as they often marginally exceed the 3.5-tonne licence limit for category B licence holders. This places a cost and operational burden on the adoption of new technology despite the wide availability of suitable vehicles.

He added: “These vehicles have the potential to make a significant contribution to improving air quality in urban areas and we support the introduction of an appropriate licence derogation to remove this adoption hurdle.”

Peter Harris, director of sustainability, Europe, UPS, admitted that it 
had been “a challenge” to deploy alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles for the range and payload that it required in the N1 vehicle and B driver licence category, because “alternative fuel systems, such as electric, affect the overall vehicle weight more negatively compared to liquid fuels such as diesel”.

He added: “Allowing operators to maintain payload at the same level as with diesel will encourage the wider adoption of alternative fuel solutions.”


FTA head of licensing, policy and compliance James Firth said that members were being consulted on the proposals.

He said some would like to invest in alternatively fuelled vans, but as a heavier vehicle is needed to move the same payload as a traditional vehicle, it pushes them over the 3.5-tonne threshold and brings with it “a raft of regulation”.

“However, many have said that compared to the cost of the vehicles, the increased regulatory burdens are not the barrier to uptake.”

Firth added: “It is also argued that, if the case can be made that vehicles up to 4.25 tonnes are safe and do not require an increased regulatory framework, then what propels that vehicle should make no difference, and let’s have that deregulation applied to all vehicles.”

The FTA now plans to consult with all its members in the coming weeks.

Van leasing provider Arval questioned whether extra permissible weight would place more responsibility on van drivers and operators.

“The question facing fleets is whether they feel it is responsible to place drivers with standard car licences into a vehicle with a mass that has previously been seen as requiring specialised training, and into something that is 750kg heavier and twice as heavy as the largest cars,” said Arval LCV consultant Eddie Parker.

“Across the fleet sector, in recent years the discussion has tended to be about whether the driving standards for larger CVs should be applied to smaller vehicles. This proposal moves things in the opposite direction.”

In order to relax driver licensing 
rules, the UK would need to seek a temporary derogation from the EU Third Driving Licence Directive. Some EU states have already done this to allow category B licence holders to drive heavier vans.

The consultation on vehicle weights also proposes to remove a current exemption for electric vehicles to undergo MoT testing. It will run until 18 October.

UK start-ups urged to tackle transport challenges through Intelligent Mobility Accelerator

Start-up businesses are being encouraged to tackle key urban transport challenges, such as congestion, emissions and road safety, through a new scheme announced yesterday at the Cenex-LCV event.

The Intelligent Mobility Accelerator will focus on areas such as connected and autonomous vehicles, connected infrastructure and transport data and analysis.

It is designed to attract disruptive start-ups with high growth potential into the UK transport industry.

The new programme is a partnership between Transport Systems Catapult and Wayra UK, supported by ThoughtWorks and Network Rail.

Businesses accepted to the accelerator will receive a six-month support programme.

Transport Systems Catapult CEO Paul Campion said: “Transport is currently going through a revolutionary period driven by digital, connected and autonomous technology.

“Up until now British entrepreneurs wanting to exploit these opportunities have needed to go it alone. We must support new UK businesses now, so we can take a lead on the world stage and create high-quality jobs and growth for our economy.”

He added: “ There are no other accelerators in the UK which cover the full range of potential Intelligent Mobility solutions, and we hope to give these businesses a doorway into this £900bn global market.”

Gary Stewart, director of Wayra UK, said: “Through this innovative programme, we hope to support the development of the next generation of transport systems breakthroughs and contribute further to making the UK the best place in the world to scale a transport start-up.”

If you are interested in applying for a place at the IM Accelerator, or would like to help support the programme contact IMAccelerator@ts.catapult.org.uk.