HGV operators and rental suppliers have been urged to be vigilant in order to mitigate the use of the ‘vehicle as a weapon’ in a terrorist attack.
Following incidents in Nice and Berlin in 2016, where trucks were used as part of attacks in built-up and crowded areas, and incidents on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge in the capital – as well as in Manchester in May 2017 – Sergeant Wayne Watling, counter terrorism focus desk, Metropolitan Police took the opportunities to tell delegates at Freight in the City 2017 of the need to remain watchful.
How many people have drivers that go out on the same routes? They know what is normal. They will know if there is something out of the ordinary,” Watling said. “We have been at severe [risk of terrorism] since August 2014 – that is an awfully long time.
“If you look at Nice, that was a horrendous situation, and that individual was not on anyone’s radar. He was not known for terrorism,” he said.
Watling revealed that 20 attacks over the past four years have been foiled by counter-terrorism police, including seven in the past seven months. “We have to be aware of the threat but get on with things.”
He also spoke of the attacks in Nice and Berlin involving HGVs: “The vehicle is the easiest way of causing mass panic. The HGV hire industry has spent a lot in reducing that risk.”
Watling also explained that the contingencies within a company to improve safety, that businesses put in place to reduce terrorism, reduces the risk of terrorism.
Operators must continue to monitor the health of their drivers in order to mitigate the risks of the business and improve the safety of the public.
Speaking at the Freight in the City Expo 2017 yesterday (7 November) James Backhouse, partner at Backhouse Jones Solicitors, cited the example of the Glasgow bin lorry crash which led to the deaths of six people in December 2014.
He said that the driver of the vehicle, in a previous employment, had an unconscious episode.
“He was in charge of a significant vehicle and suffered from medical issues that severely impacted the people around,” Backhouse said.
“After the Glasgow crash, there was an inquiry. It is important if you are employing drivers that you understand what the recommendations of that report were. The reality is, it is worth a read, as with the best will in the world you do not want it to be one of your drivers in one of your branded vehicles having a crash.”
Backhouse explained that middle-aged men – predominantly drivers – are not good at reporting issues to the doctors. He added that colleagues will spot patterns of behaviour, such as going to sleep regularly in the afternoon.
“It is very important to be alive to this. Look at your employment procedures for induction and HR. The reputational harm of one of these incidents is not to be taken lightly…” Backhouse warned.
He did concede that there was a possibility of discrimination, as anything to do with mental health is private and personal information. “This has to be dealt with with discretion,” he warned. “It cannot form the basis of tittle tattle. There is a real risk of prosecution for manslaughter if these issues are not addressed.”
Read the full Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Glasgow Bin Lorry crash here.
Further expanding clean air zones will increase the demand for electric vehicles and hybrids, but the industry needs to address the dangers of low noise associated with electric powertrains.
Tony Bowen, LCV project manager at Brigade Electronics, told delegates at Freight in the City 2017 : “We have to understand how dangerous an unseen and unheard slow moving vehicle can be to vulnerable road users – small children, people with restricted eyesight, those of old age, etc.
“Drivers that drive electric vehicles are aware of the problem. Owners and managers of companies have a responsibility to provide drivers of these vehicles with the ability to reduce risk among these vulnerable road users.”
He said that Brigade had reacted to EU Regulation 138 – which has led to its Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System and will be introduced from 1 July 2019.
“What are we doing about this impending regulation? Using our industry expertise we have developed the quite vehicle sounder… increased frequency and amplitude as the vehicle speeds up, mimicking the behaviour of a combustion engine.
“It operates from 0-12mph (20kms) above 20kms, then tyre noise and wind noise takes over.”
Pre-production of its Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System begin from November 2017 with production units available for operation by the end of Q1 2018.
Industry experts have accused TfL of putting the cart before the horse with its Direct Vision Standard (DVS).
Speaking at Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace today (7 November) Ross Paterson, head of product and marketing at Mercedes-Benz, said customers were asking what star rating each model had on a daily basis.
“We can’t simply answer that question; there is so much uncertainty about it, but nonetheless, customers need to buy some vehicles. They have to safeguard themselves; they don’t know what to buy at the moment,” said Paterson.
He later added: “From my perspective regrading the Direct Vision Standard and working with TfL, a lot of hard work is ongoing but it not complete. But I do feel the announcement was made a bit too early – the research should have been done first and then announced afterwards. So there is confusion.”
James Hookham, deputy chief executive at the FTA, agreed. “The mayor’s ambition, noble as it is, has seen him progressing too quickly with this. It has gone ahead of the checks and balances required and means we remain in the dark over DVS,” he said.
Hookham said there was an urgent need for clarity about the DVS specification so manufacturers could factor this in to designs where possible and customers, pressured to upgrade their vehicles to meet London’s Ultra Low Emission Standard (ULEZ) coming in 2019, could make the correct purchasing decisions.
Paterson added: “We build vehicles for the European market rather than for specific cities or city agendas.”
Announced last year, DVS 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.
Tim Ward, freight and fleet engagement manager at TfL, reminded delegates that 78% of fatalities involve cyclists and HGVs with truck blind spots the key issue identified in police reports.
“Since the first announcement, which was’ DVS or nothing’ we have now looked at the research, spoke to the manufacturers and re about to consult on a permit scheme.”
“The permit scheme will mean a vehicle fitted with suitable equipment [potentially sensors or cameras] could bring a zero star truck up to the [basic] standard,” he said.
Ward said TfL would launch a consultation in regards the permit, what it might contain and how it might work, within the next month.
Regulations and the ULEZ
Hookham said that while operators weren’t against change, many now felt overwhelmed by the pace of it and wanted clear guidance on how to conform.
“We really need an overall look at all the restrictions that are coming in too. The incremental approach that has been taken is adding cost to operating in London and also living in London, which can’t be good for anyone,” said Hookham.
On the subject of the ULEZ and purchasing decisions, Paterson said that while conforming with the ULEZ was not an issue for Mercedes, it was a huge one for its customers, many of whom were delaying making a purchase due to fear of getting it wrong.
He added that many would have upgraded to Euro-5 and would have planned to run the vehicles well beyond the new 2019 ULEZ start date and instead will now face a £100 penalty to enter certain areas.
The LoCity Annual Conference took place at Freight in the City 2017, offering an opportunity for policy makers, alternative fuel trials and fleet operators to look back at the past 12 months, and ahead to the challenges LoCity faces.
Introducing the session Alex Williams, director of city planning at TfL, looked at the challenges a growing London faces over the next 25 years with a projected population growth of 8.7m to 10.5m: “The mayor’s transport strategy is very ambitious in terms of getting the cleanest and safest vehicles on our roads, and we all need to respond and accommodate that.
“The number of trips people make per day is falling and the number of car trips is falling, but the number of van trips is increasing. How do we accommodate that demand and make the road network as efficient as you can? With the exception of the Silvertown tunnel there is no extra capacity in the highway network.”
Williams said that 90% of all freight in London is carried on the road, with the value of the freight moved standing at £200bn annually. As a result TfL understands the value of road freight to the capital and its economy.
In light of this he added that freight was at the heart of one of the flagship policies of mayor Sadiq Khan, to pedestrianise parts of Oxford Street (pictured above), where the biggest challenge will be to accommodate freight deliveries to stores.
Williams also discussed recent regulatory changes – noting the introduction of the T-Charge on 23 October and looking forward to the introduction of the ULEZ on 8 April 2019 – essentially 17 months early.
“A lot of people in the mayor’s consolation said that we were not moving quick enough,” he said of the move in the date of the introduction of the ULEZ. “The next ULEZ consultation will be on widening the ULEZ boundary for HGVs,” he said, adding that the zone could be bordered by the north and south circular, which he admitted would be challenging to deliver.
“We wanted to explore the affordability for our small and micro members. Yes, big fleets have a lot of knowledge, but smaller fleets needed simpler information to make the right decisions for their operation,” she said. “We also wanted to make sure that the planning and procurement activity worked properly, rather than use sticks to beat businesses with.”
She said that key concerns for FSB members over the past 12 months had been total cost of ownership for vehicles that met LoCity standards, while the emissions from auxiliary engines – such as refrigeration units – needed to be considered when it came to mitigating those emissions.
“We will continue to work with vehicle manufacturers as they are the ones who will deliver the vehicles for our members to buy in the showrooms,” she said of plans for 2018.
Next on the slate was Venn Chesterton, innovation lead, low emission vehicle, Innovate UK, who took a spin through several of the trials that the organisation had been helping to run over the past year. “What we already know is that gas vehicles don’t cost a lot more, and in some cases you will save money,” he said of the Air Liquide consortium trial, while noting that a UPS electric trial “had seen us look at how to charge vehicles. They have a large charging point on site with UK Power Networks managing that.”
Forthcoming trials including trailer ergonomics with Lawrence David, a gas trial with CNG Fuels – focused on refuelling options – and a KERS trial with Howdens Joinery.
But how are these trials measured? And how are they evaluated as successful, or not? “How can we prove to legislations, city authorities, operators and the general public that these things lead to improvement? One thing is around climate change and CO2 while the other is around air quality and NoX,” said Chesterton.
To that end, the equation of success is measured as: kms driven, the energy used to drive those kms, and emissions associated with that energy used. If those measures point to a reduction in emissions, then a vehicle is benchmarked against a Euro-6 diesel. This is done under several measures, including performance in areas such as urban environments or trunking routes.
The next trials will focus on refuse collection, he added, and he called on those involved in that part of the industry to participate.
The conference finished with a panel discussion that included contributions from Carl Beet, Transport for West Midlands; Andrew Benfield, Energy Saving Trust and Martin Ellis, Joint Air Quality Unit – looking at lowering emissions in cities and towns across the UK.
Chair and business journalist Simon Jack questioned the panel on its view as to how important EU regulation was to LoCity – and what would happen as a result of Brexit. Williams admitted that EU regulation was overarching in everything they did, but that regional mayors now had such powers over their constituencies that policy would now be driven from the bottom up, rather than waiting for the EU to handle it.
“Looking at the emissions scandal that is a failing of the EU to handle those large businesses, while these metro mayors are up there and doing it,” he said.
Beet said that EU law had given the direction, but that was moving on, while Benfield said that certainty was required in this area in order for policy makers and businesses to plan ahead to make savings and reductions.
A final question was raised from one delegate on the chance of a new mayor, with polarising views on environmental sustainability, coming in to any city and changing the political and policy work done on reducing emissions.
Benfield said that the health benefits of improving air quality would “continue to be a vote winner” while the prosperity of the economy relied on “a healthy, independent, profitable and clean” transport sector for the UK.
“This topic is not going to go away because it is hitting too many buttons. It has achieved cross party support and is not going anywhere,” he said. Ellis concurred, citing cross-party experience in Somerset and Bristol.
Finally Ellis addressed the powers of metro mayors to introduce clean air zones, and said that it was absolutely necessary for freight operators to have a clear view of the requirements and costs associated with those zones. Benfield concurred that there was a need for a national framework and standard, with encouragement beyond compliance.
“If it’s not straightforward that gives people a way out,” he said.
“Then the air quality crisis and the VW scandal happened”.
Blacklock said that with a ready built infrastructure of LPG, the fuel source could be described as the ‘cheap date’ when it came to tackling the UK’s emissions challenges.
“While there is no one technological solution to the air quality challenge, it is also true to say there’s too much cost to electrify everything in terms of rewiring the network and power generation,” he told delegates.
“Dedicated gas trucks are coming to form part of the air quality landscape. Dedicated electric vehicles are coming, but HGVs have not been seen as part of that movement and aren’t going to happen anytime soon.”
“We believe our range extended truck is a game changer that will drive transformation in the UK,” said Blacklock.
Calor Gas, which operates a fleet of some 800 vehicles, said its range-extended truck uses LPG to drive the vehicle’s electric generator. This charges the battery supplying the motor with electricity.
Compliant with the latest emission requirements, Calor said its LPG range extender will deliver lower carbon emissions than petrol and provide the capability to increase a vehicle’s battery-only range up to 250 miles.
The technology also offers the opportunity for geofencing to cut emissions to zero when operating in city centres.
Calor added that BioLPG, which is due to be available in early 2018, offers “even more significant environmental benefits over existing range-extension technologies, such as diesel and petrol”.
Claimed savings are an 82% carbon saving compared with conventional diesel power, rising to 94% with BioLPG. Particulate matter is also virtually eliminated and there is a claimed 94% cut in NO2.
Hauliers face the biggest change to how they do business since they left behind the horse and cart, according to Innovate UK’s Venn Chesterton.
Speaking to delegates in the first seminar session at the Freight in the City Expo today (7 November), the ultra low emission vehicle lead at Innovate UK set out a raft of emission and technology changes that hauliers will need to wrestle with in the next few years.
“Make no mistake. We are seeing a push towards zero emissions in urban areas,” said Chesteron (pictured).
He added that the government’s air quality strategy meant there would be more examples of London’s T-Charge and forthcoming ULEZ to come across the UK (likely as Clean Air Zones) as local authorities have been charged with cleaning up the UK’s air.
He added that while the government’s approach to tackling climate change remained voluntary for the sector at present, that remained open to legal challenge and hauliers needed “to be aware” for that reason.
“No one technology will fix this. Electric, bio-gas, hydrogen will all have their parts to play. In the near future we will see something that does long-haul conventionally than switches to zero emission mode when entering a city. The technology for this is already here,” he said.
Chesterton used the example of John Lewis switching its heavy fleet to alternative fuels as an example of movement in the industry, but warned delegates that changes happening were broader than even emissions. “How will you stay competitive and at the cutting edge?” he asked delegates.
He also said his one year old daughter will quite likely never have a driving licence. “And insurers will price the rest of us off the road if autonomous systems fulfil their potential and are deemed to be safer than humans,” he said.
Innovate is a government backed agency that funds, tests and showcases the best new technology.
Hiab and Emoss are to debut a fully electric skiploader concept vehicle at tomorrow’s Freight in the City Expo.
Hiab has fitted a Multilift Futura 12 skiploader body onto an Emoss EMS 18 series electric chassis with Hiab’s electric power take-off (PTO) system, making it 100% electric.
The electric PTO will also be showcased at the expo, which takes place at London’s Alexandra Palace tomorrow (7 November). It allows Hiab equipment such as cranes and skiploaders to be operated with the vehicle’s engine switched off.
Hiab product manager Alastair Evans said: “It’s clean and quiet, so would be ideal for early hours skip deliveries when builders need them in an inner-city residential area.
“This is purely a concept vehicle, but if the demand is there then it could certainly go into production.”
Hiab will also be showing its Moffett E4 electric truck-mounted forklift system on its stand (V07).
Speaking ahead of next week’s LoCITY Conference taking place at Freight in the City Expo in London where more than 1,400 delegates have already signed up to attend, TfL director of city planning Alex Williams, said: “It’s a real, real achievement: the scale of the network, the scale of involvement, the sharing of ideas and the desire to move to the next level of innovation and improvements to vehicle design and driver behaviour.
“This is fundamentally the most impressive part of the whole programme.”
Fleet operators will also learn what new LoCITY tools are available to help them with their vehicle buying decisions and hear about R&D work taking place across the programme’s working groups.
“There are some excellent individual components to the programme, such as the vehicle finder tool or the LoCITY driving elements, but I think the thing that is so impressive is having so many people involved for the right reason: because they want to improve the way that freight operates in the city,” said Williams.
“We know that LoCITY is delivering significant benefits and it is key that we publicly celebrate the partnership and the programme’s successes. This is essential if we are to increase public awareness and communicate effectively with the industry.”