The government’s Low Emission HGV Task Force, set-up in 2011 to identify and promote low-emission road freight technology, states that lorries contribute 21% of surface CO2 but make up only 1.5% or road vehicles. Likewise, the growing numbers of vans being used for city centre deliveries are also a significant contributor of CO2 emissions. It is therefore essential for fleet operators to understand how they can play a vital role in reducing the UK’s CO2 emissions. Schemes such as the Freight Transport Association’s voluntary Low Carbon Reduction Scheme are successfully helping to monitor, shape and tackle the sector’s carbon footprint.
An online tool has been developed to help local authorities explore sustainable urban freight scenarios for their city centres.
Smart City Logistics uses geographic information system technology to create an open source platform mapping a range of data including access restrictions, loading and unloading facilities, population, land use and carbon emissions.
Data is currently available for London, Brussels and Luxembourg with the developers looking to include Bergamo in Italy by the end of May. The tool can be developed for any town or urban environment, however, the maps’ availability would depend on the relevant town data being accessible.
Ian Short, chief executive, Institute for Sustainability, said: “The rise in online shopping trends has driven a dramatic increase in freight deliveries, urban transport of goods taking 20% to 25% of road occupancy. This inevitably impacts on traffic congestion, CO2 emissions and noise and air pollution levels. Finding solutions to manage the last mile of deliveries that work for businesses, consumers and the environment requires an integrated understanding of transport, environmental and socio-economic aspects to arrive at sustainable solutions.”
Using the Smart City Logistics platform, city planners can explore options for suitable locations for logistics facilities such as urban consolidation centres and use the results to inform future planning. Different scenarios can be modelled and compared to current operations to quantify potential savings in terms of road miles, congestion and air pollution.
In addition, the route selection feature identifies the shortest path for a delivery vehicle considering different parameters such as the weight load and access. This can help determine the optimum route for vehicles and help delivery companies save on fuel cost and manage time more efficiently as well as help manage traffic congestion. The platform also gives users the ability to test different potential scenarios based on future projections of number and type of vehicle, and see the variations in CO2 emissions compared to the current situation.
LaMiLo is an programme project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The committee’s call was made last week in its fourth report on Scotland’s progress towards meeting emissions reduction targets. In it, the committee noted that emissions from HGVs accounted for 16% of Scotland’s transport emissions, and emissions from vans for a further 10%. It went on to suggest that in order to encourage more sustainable travel habits, the Scottish Government “should consider other options to drive down emissions, such as congestion charging”.
Given that speed limits are likely to be fully devolved to Scotland in the future, it should also evaluate how they might be used in future to help meet carbon targets, said the committee.
In response, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said it intended to carry on dealing with the issue in other ways.
“The Scottish Government has no plans to introduce road user charging,” she said. “Our vision is to work to develop low-carbon vehicle technology, promote active travel choices and encourage a shift to public transport, while ensuring our road network is as efficient as possible.”
Speed limits and their enforcement will form part of a road safety strategic review in Scotland later this year, she added.
RHA director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Martin Reid, said it supported the Scottish Government’s stance on the issue as congestion there was “not on the same scale” as other parts of the UK where congestion charging had been introduced.
“It’s important to ensure road haulage provides an efficient and environmentally friendly service that promotes wealth creation and employment in Scotland and we want to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “But we agree with the Scottish Government that congestion charging is not the best way forward.”
FTA head of urban logistics and regional policy Christopher Snelling also backed the Scottish Government’s rejection of the plan.
“It’s certainly the wrong way to try and deal with carbon emissions – after all, it’s a congestion charge, not a carbon charge. It’s about effective management of urban areas, and not primarily about carbon,” he said.
Encouraging car drivers to use alternative modes of transport was an important part of freeing road space up for essential users like disabled drivers, tradespeople, freight vehicles and buses, agreed Snelling. “But congestion charging is not the right way to go about that because inevitably, it includes everything,” he said. “There are much more imaginative ways to go about managing car use.”
Read more at http://motortransport.co.uk/blog/2015/03/26/scottish-government-rejects-call-for-congestion-charging/#MuYVKFvwWQTVhe4r.99
New guidance for fleet operators considering out-of-hours deliveries was launched by TfL at Quiet Cities yesterday
‘Getting the timing right’ is a toolkit for all stakeholders involved in re-timing freight deliveries – including hauliers, local councils and businesses – and outlines the benefits and issues to consider when rescheduling deliveries, from finding suitable sites and staffing issues through to engaging with local residents.
It is an industry-led guide that pulls together all the lessons learned and data gathered by the Re-timing Deliveries Consortium, which comprises TfL, freight operators, retailers, trade associations and several London boroughs.
It outlines benefits for operators as:
Fewer PCNs by delivering at times when restrictions do not apply
Fuel savings, by avoiding congestion
More efficient use of fleet
Less stressful journeys for drivers
However it urges operators to take into account the following considerations:
Analyse delivery options
Talks between customers and local authorities
Identifying suitable locations
What customer requirements are for each delivery
The impact on whole supply chain
London’s Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy (pictured), said: “London, through the 2012 Games and the Re-timing Deliveries Consortium, has proved that innovative attitudes can have a real impact. Moving deliveries to the right time will make the difference, improving road safety and relieving pressure on congestion.
“The sheer number of people at the inaugural Quiet Cities event shows that the appetite for this change is there, not just in London, or the UK, but across the globe.”
Tim Slater, MD of Transport UK & Ireland at DHL, said: “By sharing best practice and innovative technologies, such as our new concept vehicle, retiming of deliveries to out of the peak can become a reality; ensuring reliability, easing congestion and improving road safety.”
A Quiet Cities delegate from Tesco revealed that working with the Re-timing Deliveries Consortium had enable the supermarket to move 45 stores in London to accepting night-time deliveries, while a Sainsbury’s representative stressed that collaboration across the whole borough is key, as something as simple as adding a dropped kerb can enable a new access point for out-of-hours unloading.
Delegates also wanted to find out more about individual case studies, as well as calling for construction freight to be included in future research. Some also asked about the possibility of a required standard to adhere to, so as to ensure compliance from all operators.
Day two of Quiet Cities concluded the global summit, providing delegates from logistics operators, logistics customers and policy makers and implementers with solutions to enabling out-of-hours deliveries.
As well as hearing presentations from event partner DHL, the Noise Abatement Society and Volvo Trucks delegates were able to explore a variety of low noise technologies exhibited in the shadow of Twickenham stadium.
Natalie Chapman, head of policy – London – at the Freight Transport Association, also revealed some of the details behind the Retiming Deliveries Consortium in the capital, that has been engaged in out-of-hours delivery trials with Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s in the boroughs of Camden, Richmond and Kensington and Chelsea.
Chapman said that the consortium had faced multiple challenges since its launch in January, ranging from local elections to nervousness about resident complaints, but conceded that moving to retimed deliveries would not be a quick process: “It requires a lot of buy-in at all levels,” she said.
She also revealed that Transport for London would be providing a matchmaking service for London Boroughs and businesses in order to facilitate out-of-hours deliveries. Interested parties should email email@example.com to find out more.
Tim Slater, managing director, transport UK and Ireland at DHL Supply Chain (pictured above), said that all stakeholders in out-of-hours deliveries needed to “raise the bar in standards, be it vehicles, training or behaviours” adding that DHL had “a leadership challenge” and that together, with all parts of the supply chain, “we can shape the future of logistics”.
Gloria Elliott, chief executive of the Noise Abatement Society, posed the question: “Other forms of environmental pollution are not tolerated? So why not noise?” while Per-Uno Sturk, the noise and vibration specialist at Volvo Trucks explained it would require ten trucks built today to make the same amount of noise as one truck built in the 1970s.
Sam Clarke, director of Gnewt Cargo, explained to delgates that the delivery specialist was already handling a large volume of goods seven days a week, and unlocking the out-of-hours delivery window would make up for the absence of an eighth day.
Outside Brigade Electronics; Carrier Transicold; Daf; DHL; Michelin; Moffett; Paneltex, Transdek and Route Monkey showcased a wide variety of low-noise technologies including DHL’s ‘city-safe, city-quiet’ truck.
Brigade showcased its broadband reversing alarms, while Carrier Transicold showed one of its range of PIEK-compliant refrigeration systems. Mitchelin’s new X Multi D range of tyres have a 5 db reduction in noise levels while Moffett’s electric truck-mounted forklifts run at a noise level below 60 db (A).
Paneltex showed an electric 5.5t Isuzu Forward that runs of Kuehne + Nagel’s contract with Whitbread that has a range of 120 miles while Transdek demonstrated the capabilities of its Double Deck Urban Eco Trailer, that has 100% more load capacity than a typical 18-tonne rigid.
Daf exhibited the CF Silent, which runs at a noise level of no more than 72 db(A). Engine software limits the torque and engine speed, while gears are changed at a lower engine speed reducing revving.
All were united in outlining the booming population of global urban centres, the demand from those people as consumers for immediate satisfaction, and the need for business and government to deliver solutions to these problems.
Ian Wainwright (pictured above), head of freight and fleet programmes at TfL – which proved that out-of-hours could work during the Olympics in 2012 – said: “London is changing, and so is the way we deliver freight. There is rising demand from more customers, and the population of London will rise by 1.7 million by 2031. Doing nothing is not an option. We have to do something different.”
However he did explain that 47% of HGVs in peak congestion hours were involved in construction, and it would be a major challenge to alter that supply chain.
Jason Andrews, of Croydon Borough Council in Greater London, said that its population had doubled in 20 years, and that the town centre would see a large amount of construction activity in the city centre, with a new Westfield shopping centre set to be built over the next five years.
“Congestion risk is one of our biggest priorities,” he said of planning the challenge of such large scale construction activity. The Borough is expecting 14,000 HGV vehicle movements a month over the next four years.
Richard Fleming, logistics director at Sainsbury’s, said that the retailer now had more convenience stores (676) than supermarkets (595) and that was providing a specific urban logistics challenge, particularly as 50% of its convenience stores were subject to planning regulations.
“The consumer wants to shop more, and shop more frequently. That means we need to go [into city centres] more often with smaller loads,” he said, adding that its logistics operation – which comprises of more than 2,000 vehicles, needed to minimise mileage in distributing to this channel of retail.
“We take the ‘Silent Night’ approach. We need to respect communities,” he said.
Hodge (pictured above) , of the NYC DoT, concurred: “We see opportunities for residents… and benefits for industry.”
Out-of-hour delivery trials have taken place in the city since 2007, with the 2008 recession slowing progress. The first tranche of trials involved retailers Foot Locker and Whole Foods, alongside food distributor Sysco – with drivers reporting that they felt more safe delivering at night in lower levels of traffic, and businesses reporting that vehicles spent less time being stationary, meaning more deliveries could be made by the same driver.
Now the NYC trial involves over 400 companies, including 72 of 121 Dunkin Donuts stores in Manhattan.
DHL has launched a compressed natural gas (CNG) concept truck, a Euro-6 two-axle rigid Scania P-280, at the inaugural Quiet Cities global summit in Twickenham today.
The bespoke truck has been designed to be safe, clean and quiet. It runs on a blend of natural and bio-gas, with the capability to run either fuel independently. DHL said that by running a blend of gasses in the engine it will see a 68% reduction in particulate matter (PM) and a 39% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) compared to an equivalent diesel Euro-6 vehicle over the life-cycle of the vehicle.
The low-entry cab is fitted with additional side-windows to improve visibility, alongside a four-camera, 360-degree camera system, with an in-cab screen and hard-drive image recording to improve safety.
Nylon components and pneumatic technologies have been used on the roller shutter of the trailer, to reduce noise levels, while a Noise Abatement Society and PIEK-certified tail-lift, run on a motor operating between 60 and 65 db(A) also reduces noise. Furthermore, a directed, tonal, alarm – which allows noise outside the hazard zone to dissipate quickly, has been fitted, running at 5db(A). The tear-drop trailer was supplied by Don-Bur.
Tim Slater, MD, transport at DHL Supply Chain UK & Ireland, said that the truck was part of the operator’s commitment to making transport “safer, cleaner and quieter”.
“While I truly believe this vehicle will be transformational in driving industry towards a better future, DHL will continue to invest in innovative vehicle technology, alternative fuels, accident-prevention systems and driver training to ensure we’re always delivering the best service for our customers and supporting the UK’s environmental health.”
Consumers and businesses take freight and transport for granted. It an essential part of daily life and keeps the country running, writes Tim Slater, MD of transport, DHL Supply Chain UK and Ireland
While transport is ingrained in our routines – it would be fair to acknowledge that we are not yet close to a perfect system with a number of challenges still facing our industry on a daily basis.
Congestion is a problem that every driver can relate to whether from a commuter or commercial driver’s perspective. And besides the frustration that jams cause, the impact of vehicle fumes on our environment is damaging our surroundings and o
ur health. City centres are particularly being targeted for improvement and this is further enforced by legislation for emissions, with a number of UK cities being vulnerable to heavy financial fines for missing targets.
Safety is paramount
Safety is always a primary concern and top of all of our agendas, especially in urban environments where there are other vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians. Freight vehicles are often bigger, heavier and noisier than the average vehicle, and in densely populated urban centres, noise pollution is a particular concern.
We need to address these challenges, so at DHL we’re aiming to make all our operations, safer, cleaner and quieter. By focusing on vehicle innovation, new urban solutions, increasing collaboration and improving safety performance, we can provide the most sustainable and efficient service for our customers and play our part in addressing some of the key challenges for our industry.
Innovative design and technology within vehicles can simultaneously address a number of the challenges the industry faces, including safety, noise and efficiency.
DHL has invested in redesigning vehicles, reducing the power and fuel needed, for example efficient designs including aerodynamic tear-drop trailers, are now widely-used across our fleets.
Also by including vehicle telematics we have ensured our drivers are aware of how to reduce their fuel consumption. Similarly, we have developed mobile apps that support driver training, make fuel usage transparent and therefore encourage more efficient driving. As a result, our fuel economy has improved month on month for the past two years.
DHL’s global GoGreen commitment aims to reduce C02 emissions by 30% by 2020 and so we need to look to how we reduce our reliance on diesel.
As part of this commitment, we operate the largest dual-fuel fleet in the UK, alongside other innovative technologies including electric and hybrid vehicles to help improve our overall environmental impact.
Electric vehicles are also the quietest type of vehicle, and as such are likely to play a greater role in future urban logistics – especially as government is backing electric and hybrid vehicles with a £40m investment in rapid charging networks and this has the potential to make electric vehicles a suitable city centre transport solution.
New urban solutions
Growing cities are challenged to provide world-class living spaces and passenger transport while maintaining a vibrant economy. Achieving these aims simultaneously requires new approaches to urban transportation.
DHL is establishing consolidation centres throughout the UK to combat urban congestion and reduce vehicle numbers. Consolidation centres, sited outside of urban centres, ensure final-mile deliveries are achieved in the most efficient and safe way, using the most appropriate vehicles. Our experience shows that these operations can reduce deliveries and emissions by up to 65%.
The vast majority of urban customers want their goods in the morning, and at DHL we are increasingly performing out-of-hours deliveries as an excellent method of achieving this while at the same time avoiding peak-time congestions and separating freight transport from other road users. With the correct equipment these deliveries can be conducted in a quiet and sensitive manner. DHL is working with the authorities to create an industry standard for out-of-hour deliveries that will satisfy all stakeholders.
Operating half empty lorries still remains commonplace in the transport industry, despite being a highly inefficient practice. In fact, the most recent figures reveal that 27% of lorries were making journeys with empty loads. Both internal and external pressures are pushing the industry towards improving this rate to 17% by 2050.
One way of driving progress towards this target is greater collaboration between businesses; by sharing transport resources businesses can cut their costs and their carbon footprint.
At DHL, we are continuously seeking to support our customers in achieving their sustainability goals and financial targets. As part of this work, we have identified potential collaborative partners (companies from the same or different sectors) and introduced them to each other supporting this new approach to sharing resources. One great success story from this is our partnership between Nisa and BP. Nisa now shares BP’s journeys for delivering groceries, resulting in £5.5m worth of savings since 2010.
Improving safety performance
DHL has also invested heavily in driver training. We do not settle for basic minimum qualifications, and believe continuous training is vital. In addition to the 35 hours of approved training every five years, we also train our drivers in Smith System Defensive Driving.
This world-leading programme has a proven five-step approach to considerate and safe road use. Our investment in this area has led to a 17% reduction in accidents and collisions over the past two years.
In September, DHL added an additional Driver CPC course called ‘Sharing the Road’. The module was designed by our Training Solutions team and was specifically aimed at raising awareness of vulnerable road users.
At DHL, we’re already making progress on our safer, cleaner and quieter goals. DHL is really excited to be launching a new concept in the coming months as part of our work around the Quiet Cities Summit in November in association with TfL, Route Monkey and Motor Transport.
DHL will continue to invest in innovative vehicle technology, alternative fuels, accident prevention systems and driver training. We are particularly interested in developing new solutions for increasing city populations. This is incredibly important to us as we continue to ensure that DHL is a company both fit for the future and supporting the UK’s future economic and environmental health.
DHL is at the forefront of the revolution in out-of-hours deliveries, but Christopher Walton discovers why it believes there is still a long way to go until it becomes the norm. By Christopher Walton.
Every day DHL has between 1,100 and 1,700 vehicles going into London. The UK’s largest (non-mail) operator of CVs has approximately 8,000 vehicles, roughly, so that proportion reflects London’s 22% share of the UK’s GDP.
Because deliveries into the capital account for a significant chunk of its Supply Chain business, DHL is at the forefront of the changes taking place in out-of-hours deliveries in London and it led the way during the Olympic Games in 2012.
Philip Roe, MD, innovation, strategy and business development (UK & Ireland Transport) at DHL Supply Chain, told MT that it strives to be the safest, most efficient and customer-focused operator – and if it wants to hit those targets in a quarter of its business, it has got to be leading the way. “If there are things that are changing how that business runs, you have got to be at the forefront of that,” he said. “The Olympics experience and legacy proved that things can be done, and that collaboration can work well.”
Now TfL is making strides in bringing the issue back to the forefront of operators’ business models. Three new out-of-hours delivery trials are to start in London, the first of which includes nine retail stores, four in inner London and five in outer London, and will involve deliveries earlier or later in the day than those being made.
Roe said DHL has had a strong response from customers, and it has a number of customers that want to be involved. “All different shapes and sizes of customers, in different sectors too, not just retail, some in automotive for example,” he said.
All of which begs the question: if there is so much enthusiasm from authorities, operators and customers for out-of-hours deliveries, why aren’t they standard practice? “The case has not yet been made,” said Roe. “Most supply chains are established and designed against a cycle of order, receipt and stock. To disrupt that cycle and to change it means either a big event, such as the Olympics, or a big motivation. That’s why the case has to be made.”
That is why the industry needs the Quiet Cities global summit, Roe said. He wants the summit to be the spark that sees the industry rise to the challenge, and operate out-of-hours in an urban environment in a safe, clean and quiet way. That would mean regulators rising to the challenge of relaxing some restrictions. If this happened, Roe said: “Then we could create a case that is efficient as well as safe, and also meets customers’ needs. Only when we get to the point will we see significant change.”
Operationally, one of the biggest barriers is receipt of goods and how to conduct this out-of-hours.
There are some solutions that have been around for a while, for example, driver deliveries can be made into lock-ups or specified delivery areas (which is how most catering deliveries are done, said Roe). Increasingly some delivery locations in London are operating 24 hours, either for trade, replenishment of goods or for security reasons.“There is certainly not a silver bullet on any of this, but there are different solutions that could be employed. If the hours of operation can be extended, so you are running a vehicle over multiple journeys, then the efficiency case goes a long way towards supporting those extra costs,” Roe added.“Also, it is undoubtedly safer, because it encourages segregation between freight and other road users. It improves fuel economy because you are not standing in traffic, you are moving, and you are not burning fuel unnecessarily.”
Fuel economy is key in a city that is not just congested, but sucks in freight with very little manufacturing output going out of the city in return. Reducing empty running is critical to efficient urban deliveries, Roe said: “One of our customers requires an average of five or six deliveries a day into London, but we collect five or six deliveries’ worth of waste and bring it back and recycle it.That makes that lorry mega-efficient because it is full most of the time.”
However, the success of out-of-hours deliveries will ultimately come down to one thing, according to Roe: collaboration. That means collaboration between regulators, operators, the owners of the goods and the receivers of the goods. “It is fundamental. It is key to making this happen.”
Christopher Walton talks to TfL’s Ian Wainwright to discover why the industry needs to embrace out-of-hours deliveries.
There have been several milestones in the evolution of logistics: privatisation; the curtainsider; containerisation; palletisation. Then there has been primary and secondary distribution and, more recently, multichannel distribution. Now the industry is on the cusp of the next step change. Out-of-hours deliveries need to become the norm in the very near future, and the evolution is under way.
MT spoke to Ian Wainwright, head of freight and fleet at TfL, to get a better understanding of why rescheduled deliveries will be the industry standard, and not the exception, and why London is leading the change, not just in the UK but around the world.
“During the London 2012 Olympic Games we proved that it is possible to do out-of-hours deliveries, that they do not necessarily disturb people,” said Wainwright.
“There is often a lack of understanding between the different parties. Operators frequently do not challenge their customers because they are not in the position to; they need to explain ‘we can do this more efficiently and we can save you money’.”
Wainwright believes that TfL has a role to play in squaring the circle. Although the two weeks of the London Games created an urgent need for retiming deliveries, there is an even more pressing concern for out-of-hours deliveries. “Lots of people understood that there was a burning platform [during the Games]. It had to be different. We are now in a situation where, by 2031, we will go from 8.3 million people in London to 10 million; another 1.7 million people – a 15% increase.
“If everyone is to have the same standard of living, freight activity has to go up by 15% and the internet accounts for 20% of orders. So more stuff is coming in. And it’s coming in between 7am and 11am,” Wainwright explained.
“Retailers are making decisions about properties on a footfall basis,” he said. “Nobody usually cares about the logistics, and they pick the site and logistics thinks ‘how are we going to deliver to that?’”
To that end, TfL has confirmed three new out-of-hours delivery trials are to start in London. The trials will focus on three distinct areas: the possibility of a long-term change in delivery behaviour; options to change the delivery conditions imposed through the planning process; and demonstrating the use of various pieces of quiet delivery equipment. The first of the trials includes nine retail stores; four in inner London and five in outer London, and will involve deliveries earlier or later in the day than those currently being made.
“There is a lot of misconception in London that you cannot deliver out of hours, which is wrong. There are individual sites where you cannot deliver because of a planning condition, or a noise abatement notice, or a tenancy agreement, and a range of things about the technical aspects of delivering to that site. However, London is open for business overnight and we want to enable that to happen in a way that doesn’t disturb residents,” said Wainwright.
“The London Lorry Control Scheme only applies to vehicles over 18 tonnes and it is only a routeing scheme. So while you may have to go a different route to get around it, it won’t stop the delivery. There is still this feeling, because the scheme was introduced in 1986 as a ban, that it bans deliveries. It does not ban deliveries. So we have got to work on perceptions,” he conceded.
When TfL revealed last autumn that it was launching out-of-hours delivery trials, it also created an Out-of-Hours Consortium, comprising: three London boroughs, two retailers, the FTA, the RHA and London Councils. The group aims to demonstrate best practice and offers guidance on collaboration and new ways of working. Regular progress reports will be published.
“We want to look at how we can potentially move some supermarket activity [to different times of day],” Wainwright said of the consortium. “Supermarkets want flexibility in terms of delivery times and a lot of the stores they have, such as convenience stores, are not sites you would do 24/7.
“We are having some local successes but it is slow and we are not going into any details about that until the Quiet Cities global summit [see box] because we need to get the relationships right to know which boroughs and supermarkets need to talk. Be it about parking, driver behaviour, or planning.”
Back to normal
Wainwright said that after the Games a lot of operators and customers reverted to what they knew. All the success of out-of-hours deliveries during the Games was congratulated as a job well done as normal working practices resumed. “There was a willingness with the Games to challenge customers and tell them they were not going to receive goods for two weeks [unless they were retimed]. Now we are saying that within 20 years the need for retiming deliveries will be every day,” said Wainwright.
Change for the better
But customers and operators – be it hire and reward or own-account – do not want to hear that their way of doing business is wrong. “It isn’t wrong, but it can change for the better,” Wainwright said.
“We have to give people enough information so they understand what is coming, so they can make the right investment and recruitment decisions to enable them to deal with how cities are in the future. And, yes, this is London today but increased densities in terms of residential developments will happen in Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, and any other city. People will have to get used to that.
“A lot of the solutions that exist will make Barnstable or Bury St Edmonds or Burton-on-Trent nicer places too if people are doing things at different times of the day,” he added.
The European Parliament has approved rules forcing the establishment of more electric vehicle recharging points and alternative fuel stations on the continent.
In a vote on 15 April, it agreed to implement a new directive that will oblige member states to submit minimum proposed levels of refuelling and recharging stations, with EU-wide standards including the use of common plugs for electric vehicles and standardised refuelling equipment for hydrogen and natural gas.
Under EC proposals, just under 800,000 publicly accessible electric vehicle recharging points, all using a common plug, will need to be established before 2020 – including more than 120,000 in the UK. EC figures show there were just 11,749 points across the Union in 2011, including 703 in the UK.
The EC also wants LNG refuelling stations to be installed every 400km along the roads of the Trans European Core Network, and for CNG refuelling points to be available Europe-wide at maximum distances of 150km by 2020.
EC vice president Siim Kallas said: “This is a milestone in the roll-out of clean fuels in Europe. This vote sends a clear signal that Europe is putting clean fuels at the heart of its transport policy and the drive to develop a transport system fit for the 21st century.”
The DfT told MT this time last year that it supported the EU’s efforts to harmonise technical standards for alternative fuels but that it was “not convinced that setting targets for the deployment of technology-specific infrastructure is the most effective way of building consumer confidence in new technology”.