Greenwich council to tackle air quality through fleet scheme

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has launched an ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme in a bid to improve air quality on local roads.

The new scheme will cover the areas of Greenwich, Woolwich, Charlton, Plumstead and Blackheath.

It comes after Greater Manchester and Staffordshire and Stoke launched ECO Stars schemes.

Fleets are assessed free-of-charge by ECO Stars with a star rating awarded based on current performance, alongside a roadmap of recommendations to help them drive down emissions and reduce operating costs.

Councillor Danny Thorpe (pictured centre), cabinet member for regeneration and transport, at Greenwich council, welcomed new members to the scheme earlier this month, including the council’s own Fleet Services division, DHL and the University of Greenwich.

“I am delighted that the Royal Borough of Greenwich is hosting today’s launch which marks a new chapter for both us and our partners in working to improve the borough’s air quality.

“I am looking forward to seeing how we take our roadmaps forward and all aim for a 5 star rating so that we can run cleaner, safer and greener fleets,” he said.

ECO Stars is managed by transport consultant Transport & Travel Research. Set up in 2009, there are now 21 schemes running in the UK.

Garia launches electric-powered utility truck for city use

Danish golf cart manufacturer Garia has launched a new electric-powered utility truck for last-mile deliveries and urban operations.

Distributed by ePower Trucks, the road-legal Garia Utility City is a compact 1.31m wide and 3.23m long, with a turning radius of just 3.25m.

The flatbed has a payload of up to 740kg, with other body options including mesh cage, drop sides, tipper, and a fully enclosed van with rear and side doors.

Garia claims it is the first electric utility truck manufacturer to offer a Lithium-Ion battery pack as an option, replacing the standard 8x 6V lead acid pack. It said this reduces vehicle GVW, recharge time and battery maintenance, while increasing range between charges.

The vehicle has a top speed of 45kph (28mph) and a range of up to 75km (45miles) on a single charge.

Jerry Hanss, MD of ePower Trucks, said: “The Garia utility truck is a great vehicle that is ideal for last-mile deliveries and urban operations. The option of a Lithium-Ion battery is an industry first for this type of utility truck, further enhancing its appeal.”

Based in Oldham, Greater Manchester, ePower Trucks is a an electric vehicle distributor of models used in a range of last-mile urban delivery and estates management activities.




Martin Brower picks Daf CF Silents for out-of-hours deliveries

Operator Martin Brower has ordered five Daf CF ‘Silent’ rigids to enable out-of-hours urban deliveries for burger chain giant McDonald’s.

The new trucks will be powered by biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil (UCO), which Martin Brower and McDonald’s have been using since 2007 to reduce carbon emissions.

“We are always looking at ways of reducing our environmental impact,” said Tony Winterbottom, general manager operational support at Martin Brower, “and have already completed significant work on reducing both noise and engine emissions”.

He said the Daf CF Silent Mode was chosen as part of the operator’s environmental protection strategy and will now be included on specification for all future truck acquisitions.

Silent Mode is an engine software function that reduces noise levels to less than 72 dB(A) and complies with PIEK-certification requirements on vehicle noise limits to enable quiet out-of-hours deliveries.

Daf was also picked due to its capability on running on biodiesel, the operator said, which runs all of its McDonald’s distribution trucks on UCO.

“Clean engine technology is fundamental to our environmental strategy,” explained Winterbottom. “Our significant reduction in our Co2 emissions is a result of the collaboration between McDonald’s and Martin Brower over several years.”

The five rear-steers will join an all-Daf fleet based at the company’s Hemel Hempstead and Dublin locations, including 117 tractors and 40 rigids, plus 153 trailers.

Four of the new trucks are already in operation out of Hemel Hemstead, with the fifth being prepared for this week’s Clocs progress event at London’s ExCeL on 23 March.


TfL launches directory of construction consolidation centres in capital

TfL has published a directory of construction consolidation centres in London in a move to encourage the reduction of individual vehicle movements travelling to and from building sites.

It is expected that increased use of consolidation sectors will improve the safety, efficiency and planning of deliveries by combining and co-ordinating ‘just-in time’ deliveries.

TfL said it is working closely with the construction logistics industry to improve the collaboration and sustainability of deliveries.

Ian Wainwright, head of freight and fleet at TfL, said: “There is no one answer to improving the efficiency of freight on our roads but the Directory of London Construction Consolidation Centres is a valuable addition to the toolkit.”

He added: “We are working hard to ensure that London’s roads support its growth and a key part of that is making sure that they are used efficiently. The use of consolidation centres can benefit operators, clients and all other road users, and our directory will make it easier than ever to find the right centre for the right job.”

London Construction Consolidation Centre operator Wilson James (pictured) last year announced plans to expand its facility due to increased volumes.



Staffordshire and Stoke councils launch joint air quality scheme for fleet operators

A consortium of eight Staffordshire councils has launched a new ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme in a bid to improve air quality on local roads.

The free-to-join ECO Stars scheme encourages and supports operators of HGVs, vans, buses and coaches to run their fleets more efficiently, reducing both costs and vehicle emissions.

A star rating is given to operators upon joining based on performance, and a ‘roadmap’ of recommendations is provided to drive further fleet efficiency in their operations.

The first fleet operators to sign up to the Staffordshire and Stoke scheme included council fleets from East Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme and operators Boots UK, DHL, JD Commercial, Nisa, Sainsbury’s and Stan Robinson.

Councillor Jacqui Jones, deputy leader for regulatory services, from East Staffordshire Borough Council, said: “ECO Stars is an excellent example of partnership working – working together for the benefit of the community in terms of the environment, as well as helping our local businesses use their fleets as cleanly and efficiently as possible.”

Ann Beddoes, ECO Stars scheme manager, from Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, added: “We hope that Staffordshire’s fleet operators will take full advantage of this opportunity to make a difference to their local environment while at the same time improving their bottom line.”

ECO Stars was originally set up in South Yorkshire in 2009, when local councils wanted to tackle local air quality issues caused by transport, and now comprises 21 schemes in the UK and several more in Europe.

This latest scheme follows suit from Greater Manchester, which launched its own earlier this month.


Calling all low carbon logistics champions – enter the 2016 Motor Transport Awards now

Could your company be the Low Carbon Champions at this year’s Motor Transport Awards?

If your business has greatly reduced its carbon emissions by improving the efficiency of its operation or investing in alternative fuelled vehicles, then the Low Carbon Award, now in its 9th year, is still open for entry.

Sponsored by Keyfuels, the Low Carbon Award is open for any third party or own account operators running 11 or more commercial vehicles to enter.

Judges of the Motor Transport Awards will want to see some, or all, of the following criteria:

  • How you measure your carbon footprint, preferably using some recognised methodology;
  • What opportunities you identified to reduce carbon emissions;
  • What initiatives you have taken;
  • The outcomes in terms of reduced emissions (such as total tonnes of CO2 or grams of CO2 per tonne kilometre) and improved efficiency.

Last year’s winner, Malcolm Logistics, worked with SDC to increase the capacity of its railfreight wagons from 26 pallets to 30 pallets by increasing the length, boosting capacity by 15%.

To enter the Low Carbon Award, click here or go to

The entry deadline is 18 March 2016 and the winners will be revealed at the MT Awards Gala Dinner on 6 July in London.

Manchester launches ECO Stars programme to boost city’s carbon-reduction target

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has launched a new ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme this month to help operators improve environmental performance and drive down running costs.

The scheme will help TfGM in its aim to halve carbon emissions across the city region within the next four years.

ECO Stars is a free, voluntary scheme providing recognition and support on reducing fuel costs and environmental best practice to operators.

Upon joining the scheme, operators are given a star rating out of five, with personal guidance on how to improve upon this initial score and drive further efficiencies in their fleet operations.

TfGM head of logistics and environment, Helen Smith, said: “We’re working very hard with our partners to improve Manchester’s air quality and taking part in the scheme helps the city on its way to reducing its carbon emissions by 48% by 2020.”

The scheme launched this month and hopes to work with operators in pollution hotspots in Greater Manchester, such as Trafford Park.

Many major operators in the area have already signed up, including retailers Nisa and Superdrug.

ECO Stars is being managed on behalf of TfGM by transport consultant Transport and Travel Research (TTR).

Morag White, TTR deputy programme manager for ECO Stars, added: “The scheme is free to sign up to, the process is simple and by following our advice, businesses could improve their fuel efficiency by up to 5%.

“We hope that Manchester’s fleet operators, whether one-man bands or larger operators, will take full advantage of this opportunity to make a difference to both their bottom line and their local environment.”

ECO Stars expands as northen cities raise their profile

Growth in towns and cities in the North is prompting both public and private fleet operators to explore schemes such as ECO Stars Fleet Recognition in an effort to boost operational sustainability.

Jim Chappell (pictured), freight and fleet divisional manager at Transport & Travel Research, which heads up the ECO Stars scheme said: “We are seeing a direct correlation between ECO Stars’ expansion and the growth and the rise in profile of cities and wider urban areas in the North.

“As urban centres grow they need schemes such as ECO Stars, which deliver positive interventions to reduce environmental impact and give operators an opportunity to review their operations against industry best practice.”

Chappell will be taking part in a panel debate at next month’s Freight in the City Spring Summit in Manchester that will discuss the importance of collaboration between public and private sectors to drive cleaner, safer, more efficient freight movements across urban areas.

He told Freightinthecity that local authorities could take the lead in driving collaborative fleet efficiency by first analysing their own community fleets and those of their supply chain: “Efficiencies in these areas will always be advantageous to the local authority, the contracted operator, and the wider community.”

Commercial fleet operators would also greatly benefit from working closely with local authorities and establishing a positive relationship with the relevant teams at the council.

Chappell explained: “The greater the co-operation, the greater the holistic benefit. If there is a positive relationship, activities such as those with an infrastructure implication (for example temporary rerouting or installation of electric charging points) can be discussed from a starting point of a positive relationship.

“This also applies to contracts between local authorities and commercial operators where cleaner operations are preferred, as there could be procurement considerations,” he added.

Freight in the City takes place at Manchester Central on 3 March and is a free-to-attend one-day event designed to explore opportunities for sustainable freight as part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse investment strategy. Why not sign up today!

ECO Stars collaboration helps JG Pears save costs and reduce carbon footprint

Animal by-product renderer JG Pears has slashed both costs and its carbon footprint since joining the ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme.

Following advice given on improving the efficiency of its fleet, the Nottingham business has seen insurance premiums drop by £80,000, mpg improve by around 10% and carbon impact lowered by 8%.

The business works from three depots in Nottingham and Yorkshire and operates a fleet of 35 HGVs and 200 trailers with an average annual mileage per vehicle of 285,000km.

Following an assessment carried out by ECO Stars upon first joining the scheme, JG Pears was initially awarded a four-star rating out of a maximum five stars.

Group logistics manager Andrew Bostock (pictured) was delighted: “I joined the company the previous year and we had made some significant changes in the way we worked and so I was pleased to get a very respectable rating. It highlightedJG-Pears-Andrew there was still much that could be done to get the most out of the assets we had.”

He added that it was good to receive external recognition of the work already achieved, together with a realistic view of further steps to take.

Following the assessment a ‘roadmap’ was produced for the business that listed key actions to be considered.

ECO Stars encouraged the company to examine the most efficient vehicle was being used for the job.

As a result, 20 new aerodynamic trailers were purchased, as well as a shift towards Euro-6 models on the tractor fleet.

During 2014, the JG Pears fleet of Euro-5 vehicles returned an average of 8.4mpg. The fleet now operates at an average of 9.7mpg, largely due to the introduction of 16 Euro-6 trucks in 2015. A further four Euro-5 trucks are also shortly due for renewal with Euro-6 models.

Better use of telematics to manage performance was also instigated, which included the launch of a driver league table to motivate employees. This in turn enabled the business to enhance its driver training strategy.

One year after joining ECO Stars, JG Pears was re-assessed and was awarded a five-star rating for the work it had achieved.

Iveco: ‘make urban emission standards consistent’

Martin Flach, product director at Iveco – manufacturer of the Eurocargo – has called on legislators across Europe to standardise urban emission and safety standards and incentivise OEMs to improve their offerings.

“In legislative terms the next major thing to hit the truck industry will be when we have to start declaring emissions,” said Flach. “How much that will drive the buying cycle remains to be seen. I don’t know of many operators who will buy on an emissions level. I may be wrong. And certainly in the car market this has had a wider effect.”

Speaking just days before Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon called for a peak-time ban on HGVs, he said: “There is a certain naivety in people who say they want to ban trucks from London for example, because I would give them three days until they can’t buy a cup of coffee or a sandwich or hospitals run out of oxygen and clearly it would be seen as an over-reaction. What is required is to address the issues and not do a knee-jerk reaction.

“Similar to the debate on Clocs, where London thinks it can go it alone, there is a risk of London, Birmingham and Manchester all doing things differently. So as a manufacturer we would struggle to justify the investment to have a different product for every city. One of the key things is not just to have national requirements, but international requirements,” he insisted.

“Across Europe all sorts of cities have all sorts of problems and if you are going to have low-emission zones in cities, for example, at least let them be consistent. Then as manufacturers we can invest in the technology that will achieve and improve on those requirements.”

The Eurocargo was crowned International Truck of the Year 2016 and Iveco has dubbed it the “truck the city likes” but Flach is not sitting on his laurels and outlined several key areas where trucks of the future could go.

“When we look at the city we have got to focus on several different criteria. Top of the pops at the moment is air quality. Major cities are struggling with air quality that is outside of the reasonable requirement. There is the challenge there to improve air quality,” he said.

The Iveco Eurocargo at the Freight in the City Expo in London, October 2015.
The Iveco Eurocargo at the Freight in the City Expo in London, October 2015.

Flach is also an advocate for out-of-hours deliveries: “Then we have a second challenge in terms of congestion in the city and what to do to effectively reduce the level of congestion during peak hours. The idea of banning trucks during the rush hour is easy to do but it doesn’t actually solve the problem. Then that brings you on to the whole debate of how to reduce the number of vehicles in the city, which means we are looking at things like night-time deliveries. There is a huge opportunity there and let’s not underestimate the challenges around it. But if you use a quiet vehicle – and we have quiet vehicles – all the technology, be it gas; hybrid or electric for the final mile just means that all you need is a quiet driver.

“Fundamentally the idea of doing more night-time deliveries takes congestion out of the city during peak hours. And this improves air quality because driving at night means less congestion, which means the amount of emissions coming out of that vehicle will be less. It is one of the obvious ones, that politically is not easy to do. There has been successful work done in this area and we need to follow that up,” he said, alluding to the late 2007 three-month night-time delivery trial in Wandsworth for Sainsbury’s – which involved rescheduling two early morning deliveries to the south-west London store to 1.30am and 3.30am respectively, using a vehicle with a variety of noise-reducing measures.

Finally, Flach said that the introduction of Euro-6 as the mandatory emission standard for commercial vehicles above 3.5t GVW on 1 January 2014 was already delivering results in urban environments: “If we come back to air quality, all of the evidence seems to show – and it is early days – that Euro-6 in the city environment is delivering what the legislators were looking for. It has had a significant effect reducing emissions in the environment. There were limitations on the test cycles in urban areas as established by the European Union for Euro-5, but Euro-6 has addressed that and is doing what it says on the tin. If we go beyond that natural gas goes beyond Euro-6 in terms of NoX but particularly in terms of NO2.”