London to launch a low-emission commercial vehicle strategy

Transport for London (TfL) is poised to launch a low-emission commercial vehicle programme to help stimulate the market for low, ultra low or zero-emission vans and lorries.

Split into three distinct work streams, the project will first concentrate on increasing the availability and affordability of viable low-emission commercial vehicles and retrofit technology.

The next stage will see TfL looking to establish an alternative fuel and supply chain infrastructure to support an increase in low-emission trucks and vans.

Finally, the project will help operators understand their options and make informed fleet buying decisions to encourage widespread uptake of low-emission commercial vehicles. TfL will also work with public sector planning and procurement bodies to further support uptake of greener fleets.

Speaking at the FTA’s Managing Freight in London conference earlier this week (2 June), Glen Davies, TfL programme manager – freight and logistics, said he believed the timing was right to bring together the successful work already carried out by operator trials and begin to form consistent benchmarks.

“I think the industry can educate us. There is a lot of investment and good practice. Some of the large 3PLs, particularly in retail and food sectors, are trialling alternative fuels.

“We need to harvest that. We can learn from the industry and help inform the rest of the industry,” he added.

TfL announced this week it was seeking partners for future charging infrastructure to support ultra-low emission vehicles with an initial investment of £10m available for rapid charging technology.

BVRLA welcomes more accurate emissions testing on vans

An EC proposal for ‘real world’ air pollution tests for vans and cars was agreed last week by member states to provide a more accurate procedure for measuring vehicle emissions.

New proposals will require vehicles to be tested on the road and in traffic, rather than in laboratory-like conditions as is currently the case, which should provide more precise NOx emissions data for diesel light-duty vehicles under Euro-6 air quality standards.

EC and member states need to agree the limits for the real-world tests and whether they can be introduced by 2017. This will be alongside existing EC plans to bring in a new, more accurate CO2 test cycle in 2017 – the World Light Duty Test Procedure.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has welcomed the plans.

“Air pollution is a major threat to public health, so it is vital that we can accurately measure the part played by road transport, particularly diesel vehicles,” said BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney.

“Over the years, the fleet sector has made excellent progress in driving down CO2 emissions. I am convinced that it can have a similar impact on NOx emissions if it is given accurate information and an appropriate tax regime.”

He added that the agreement is an “important milestone” in helping Europe deal with road transport-based air pollution.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) has expressed concern over the lack of detail in the new testing proposals. It is urging the EC to deliver a complete proposal by June or July to allow manufacturers enough lead time to implement any changes.

ACEA secretary general said: “We need to make more progress on clarifying all testing conditions to ensure a robust Real Driving Emissions regulation could commence from September 2017. We need clarity in advance so that we can plan the development and design of vehicles in line with new requirements.”

The association said it will work closely with the EC to help develop the new testing regime.

Van carbon emissions decline ahead of EU targets

CO2 emissions from vans are continuing to decline ahead of EU targets, according to latest figures released by the European Environment Agency.

Around 1.4 million new vans were registered in the EU last year, with average emissions of 169.2g of CO2/km. This represents a 2.4% drop on 2013’s emissions and is significantly below the EU’s target for 2017 of 175g CO2/km.

The light commercial vehicle market is growing significantly each year, with registrations up by 18% last year across Europe, as city centre populations continue to expand and increasing amounts of goods need to be delivered into busy, urban environments.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) secretary general Erik Jonnaert said: “Vehicle manufacturers have invested billions of euros into helping improve the fuel efficiency and environmental performance of their products. This investment has underpinned this 4g drop in CO2 emissions per km this year. The industry will continue to work to ensure that its new vehicles go on to meet the target of 147g of CO2/km by 2020.”

He added that further reductions in CO2 will also be dependent on greater market uptake of alternative powertrains, including electric, hybrid, fuel-cell and natural gas-powered vans.

However, EEA figures show that less than 2% of new van registrations in Europe comprise alternative-fuelled vehicles, with less than 0.5% electric.

Jonnaert said governments across Europe will need to increase their support for a wider roll-out of alternative powertrains, both in terms of building supporting refuelling and charging infrastructure and in influencing consumer choices.

“With a view to the future post 2020, we need to initiate a wider debate involving all stakeholders on a more ambitious system for further reducing CO2 emissions from road transport. This means we should focus not only on emissions from the vehicle itself, but also other factors influencing emissions during the use of the vehicle,” he added.

This would include the carbon content of fuels, driver behaviour, infrastructure, and the age of the fleet.

Freight in the City Expo promises to solve sustainable urban freight challenges

Following the success of last year’s Quiet Cities Global Summit, Motor Transport publisher Road Transport Media is holding a one-day urban logistics event aimed at all stakeholders interested in enabling quiet, clean and safe deliveries.

The one-day Freight in the City Expo will combine seminars, an exhibition and guided tours all aimed at ensuring visitors have a comprehensive understanding of the issues around urban logistics.

“There are many challenges associated with delivering goods and services in the cities, with new standards, exclusion zones and charging schemes emerging,” said Andy Salter, MD of Road Transport Media.

“For all those involved in this sector, whether as a policy maker, consignor or commercial vehicle operator, it is essential everyone is aware of the implications and future requirements for urban logistics. Freight in the City is a forum to bring all the key stakeholders together to share ideas, information and solutions.

Freight in the City Expo will take place on 27 October at Alexandra Palace, London and will be free to attend.

“Our ambition is for the Expo to become an annual event for those involved in urban logistics to share information, best practice and their solutions to the challenges of using commercial vehicles in the city,” added Salter.

For more information about the Expo and to register your interest, click here.

FTA Managing Freight in London event to tackle road safety, compliance and enforcement

Road safety, compliance and enforcement when delivering into the capital are set to be key topics tackled at the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) Managing Freight in London conference next week.

The event, on Tuesday 2 June at the Kia Oval, will cover challenges facing freight operators in the next two to three years, from the development of cycle superhighways, to retrofitting safety equipment, lowering emissions and penalty charge notices.

It will also discuss the role of schemes such as the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (Fors) and the Construction Logistics Cyclist Safety scheme (Clocs).

Rob Beckers of the Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Unit will be leading a session on HGV enforcement and infringements. He said: “At the conference, I will be briefing attendees about how our enforcement works, the most typical mistakes these operators are making as well as the extreme examples of criminal behaviour. This is part of our efforts to work with the logistics industry to raise standards and ensure all vehicles and drivers on London’s roads are being operated the way they should be.”

The session will also address the detail of the upcoming London Safer Lorry Scheme and how it will be enforced.

A Metropolitan Police Exchanging Places event will also take place the evening before the conference, whereby cyclists are able to experience an HGV driver’s view of the road.

The scheme has seen more than 18,000 cyclists take part to date, with 97% saying they will change their riding as a result and 99% offering to recommend it to a friend.

London transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy will make the key note address at the conference. “It is impossible to underestimate the importance of freight in the capital as without it London could not function,” he said.

Hendy added: “The capital’s roads are facing new pressures, with a population set to reach
10 million by 2030 and infrastructure changes to meet resident and business demands. As we face these changes, we’re pleased to support the FTA as it works with its members and the industry to understand and address these challenges.”

Chaired by FTA chief executive David Wells, delegates will also hear from Westminster City Council; cyclist training body Bikeability, operators, customers and FTA policy experts.

The Managing Freight in London Conference, sponsored by Transport for London, takes place on Tuesday 2 June at The Kia Oval, Kennington, London SE11. For further information or to book a place go to

Government urged to promote air quality benefits of LPG vehicles

The UK’s liquefied petroleum gas trade association (UKLPG) is urging the incoming air quality minister to support the significant role that automotive LPG could play in reducing harmful emissions from the transport sector.

A Supreme Court ruling last month said the government must produce a new air quality plan by the end of 2015, following the UK’s failure to meet EU nitrogen dioxide reduction targets in several major cities, with a new air quality minister to be appointed later this week to drive the scheme forward.

UKLPG is calling on the new minister to draw upon latest research it commissioned from Millbrook Proving Ground and recognise the air quality benefits of automotive LPG, such as a significant reduction in CO2, NOx and particulate matter compared with petrol or diesel vehicles.

Millbrook’s report highlights the potential for LPG to take an ongoing role within the UK’s current transport mix both as a mono and dual fuel, as well as being a strong partner for future technologies, with scope to work with fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and auxilliary power units.

Rob Shuttleworth, chief executive of UKLPG, said: “As an incredibly versatile, plentiful and clean fuel, automotive LPG deserves far greater recognition for its air quality, low-carbon and cost effective benefits which we urge the new minister to recognise.”

He added: “The research, backed by supporting evidence, clearly identifies the potential for a strong future for automotive LPG to 2050. We’re keen to work together with the automotive industry and policy-makers to develop the future of low-carbon road transport in which automotive LPG plays a key role.”


Wilson James on the hunt for new site to expand London Construction Consolidation Centre

The London Construction Consolidation Centre (LCCC) is on the hunt to purchase a new site to accommodate the rapid increase in demand from contractors wanting to use the facility.

Now based in Silvertown, east London, the facility has a storage capacity of around 140,000ft², compared with the 40,000ft² the LCCC offered when it first launched as part of a two-year trial in 2005.

“There is much more of an appetite now than there was back in 2005,” said Bob Dempsey, operations manager south at Wilson James, which owns and operates the facility.

Schemes such as Fors and Clocs are helping to drive demand to a certain degree, he said, as well as the need to overcome increased congestion during major infrastructure works in the capital and local authority constraints and restrictions. “People are looking for other ways of getting their materials to site.”

Dempsey added that the industry is becoming “more mature”, with contractors examining their costs far more to see where gains can be made: “There is also the problem of actually getting the materials to site. In London, where you might have one or maybe two off-loading points, and you may need 30 deliveries a day, in effect, we could do that in less than 10.”

Running a fleet of six trucks, accredited to Fors gold standard, the LCCC reduces vehicle movements travelling to sites in London by two-thirds and said it achieves a 95% improvement on delivery performance (right materials, right place, right time).

How does the LCC work?

According to Wilson James, the main purpose of the LCCC is to promote the efficient flow of construction materials through the supply chain to the actual points of use on the projects. It is not a warehouse. The centre aims to enhance construction site performance and reduce the impact on environmental issues such as congestion, pollution and noise.

Construction goods, excluding steel frames, aggregates and major plant, are delivered to the LCCC in relative bulk. From there, materials are called-off by the various trade contractors and formed into work packs for immediate use on site, following a just-in-time approach. Goods are checked on arrival at the centre for quality and condition, to ensure any problems are highlighted at an early stage. The centre does not store goods in the conventional sense, with an aim of a turnaround time of 10 – 15 days.


  • 15% reduction in waste materials
  • 95% improvement in delivering performance (right materials, right place, right time)
  • 68% reduction of vehicles traveling to site
  • 25% reduction in accidents/injuries
  • 47% increase in site productivity
  • 75% reduction in CO2 emission

The LCCC has continued to expand on the services it offers its customers, with the latest technology developed by Wilson James – the Fors-accredited Fulcrom IT programme- combining a warehouse management system with all aspects of the consolidation process and what is required on site as well. “It will do absolutely everything, from adding up the emitted CO2 to the point of departure of the goods direct into the consolidation centre, the resources used at site, such as a tower crane hoist, and will also maintain a warehouse management system,” said Dempsey.

UK low-carbon technology to have a ‘strong presence’ in Japan

Seven British-based firms are heading to Japan later this month to showcase the UK’s expertise in in low-carbon technology.

They will take part in the Automotive Engineers of Japan (JSAE) Engineering Conference, which annually brings together key players in the next generation of vehicle design and production, with low-carbon technology high on the agenda this year.

Each of the firms have received funding for their research through Innovate UK – previously called the Technology Strategy Board – as part of its Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform.

The participating UK-based companies are: Advanced Innovative Engineering (AIE), Artemis Intelligent Power, MIRA, Nissan Technical Centre Europe, Productiv, Romax Technology and the Manufacturing Technology Centre.

Paul Gadd, programme manager for the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform at Innovate UK, said: “Having such a strong presence shows the real strength of UK technical capability in the low carbon vehicle area, and the demand for this capability in the global market.”

Engineering and test centre MIRA will be debuting a demonstrator and presenting its research for the Hydrogen for Long Range Electric Vehicle project.

“Co-funded by Innovate UK, this collaborative project features the world’s first automotive application of hydrogen produced on-demand from stabilised ammonia borane. This advanced technology minimises the on-vehicle quantity of gaseous hydrogen, allowing simple, low cost distribution without requiring a high pressure hydrogen infrastructure,” said MIRA commercial manager, Asia Pacific, Ben Reynolds.

He added: “It promises to be a fantastic event and we are looking forward to coming home with some superb new contacts and business leads.”


Freight consolidation centres an important specialism for DHL

A top DHL executive has said freight consolidation centres remain an “extremely important” sector for the business to maintain a specialism in, as he believes they will become more commonplace in the future logistics market.

Vice-president of public sector, Roger Burns, says although there isn’t a vast amount of consolidation activity in the present climate, it still remains an essential area for DHL to explore growth opportunities.

DHL Supply Chain currently operates three freight consolidation schemes in the UK – the Camden Council-led London Boroughs Consolidation Centre, Gatwick Airport and Bristol-Bath (see fact file, below) – and the business is engaged in “ongoing” talks up and down the country as more organisations seek out the benefits that consolidated freight deliveries can bring.

“We believe it is an extremely important area for us as an ethical operator to be represented in and maintain expertise in consolidation,” said Burns. “Sooner or later it will become a much more normal way of operating. Today it is a relatively specialist and small-scale operation, not just for DHL, but for anybody. However, this will change.”

He adds that local authorities and other public bodies are increasingly conducting feasibility studies to see if consolidation centres are the answer to ever-growing congestion on their city streets. “Clearly you have to still deliver goods into the city, but how can this be done in the most environmentally friendly way? Consolidation is one of the mechanisms that city planners will look at,” said Burns.

For a consolidation scheme to succeed as a sustainable operation, it is essential for the initiative to build enough scale to be economically viable, explained Burns, which can be achieved in two ways.

First, through positive encouragement with some seed funding from the local authority, but with a remit of building sufficient scale to become self-funding as soon as possible.

The other way is to build scale through a regulatory environment. “Which is perfectly feasible and we’ve been successful at [achieving scale this way] in operating environments like airports or shopping centres. At the airport, for example, the regulatory environment is built around security. They have a need for consolidation driven by security.”

He added: “It is clearly more difficult to regulate a major city, as the number of users is vast. But you are seeing it to a certain extent in the Bristol-Bath consolidation centre. Bath City Council has brought in an increased level of restrictions for road use in the central areas. With one hand, the council is making it more onerous to use these roads, and on the other, the solution to this is making use of the consolidation centre.”

Burns said DHL is now in discussions with organisations both in London and other major cities about the possibility of freight consolidation. “It’s an ongoing dialogue.”


Bristol-Bath consolidation centre began operation in May 2004 with European funding and now serves 128 businesses with two electric vehicles in operation to carry out last-mile deliveries. To date the scheme has achieved:

  • A 79.5% reduction in delivery trips for retailers
  • 158 tonnes of CO2 and 5,136kg of Nox saved
  • More than 16,224 vehicle trips removed




London Construction Consolidation Centre doubles in size as contractors realise benefits

The London Construction Consolidation Centre (LCCC) has more than doubled in size in the past 12 months, which it attributes to building contractors seeking alternative delivery methods to tackle congestion and local authority constraints they face in the capital.

Operated by Wilson James, the LCCC now comprises 12,000m2 of warehousing space – last month taking on a third 4,200m2 unit to handle additional volumes.

LCCC is currently servicing 15 major construction projects in the capital, including construction works at University College London and the Bloomsbury transformation programme.

The operation has achieved Fors Gold standard and recently won a City of London sustainability award for its work on tackling climate change and air quality.

Bob Dempsey, operations manager south, at Wilson James, said: “Given the severe delivery constraints and the restrictions placed on them by local authorities, more and more major construction projects in central London are realizing the benefits of consolidation logistics. Also coupled with the need for greater certainty of supply as well as delivering sustainability benefits.”