Fors membership grew 22% in 2016

Fors membership climbed 22% in 2016, totalling more than 4,400.

In its review of 2016, Fors said its number of gold accredited operators rose by 49%, and silver by 69%.

The year also saw the first national Fors conference, and the fourth version of the standard.

It boosted its auditor numbers by a third in order to meet the increase in demand.

Fors director John Hix said: “We’re delighted the scheme is continuing to grow, and we’re particularly proud of the regional growth over the past 12 months.

“As a result, we have increased the number of auditors by 30% to cope with demand from operators across the transport sector – from the ‘man-with-a-van’ through to national parcel delivery fleets.”

He added he was “particularly pleased” with the boost in gold membership, which was made more challenging in the new standard.

The increase, said Hix, “shows real commitment by Fors members to improvements in their operations and in taking steps to implement Fors further throughout their supply chain”.

The report confirmed that membership and audit fees would not be increasing in 2017.

“We believe this is the right thing to do, delivering value to members as they strive to raise standards across their industries,” the report said.

Hix added: “We expect 2017 to be another dynamic year. We will continue to work with our members to raise standards across the industry – to work towards safer, greener and more efficient operations,” said Hix.

Direct Vision standard could see half of HGVs in London banned by 2024

TfL has estimated that half of the HGVs operating in London will be banned from the city by 2024 under the Direct Vision Standard, according to the RHA.

The trade association said that during a meeting today (17 March) TfL  estimated that of the 188,000 HGVs that currently operate in London, 35,000 would be banned by 2020, rising to 94,000 by 2024.

TfL added that it could not yet say which vehicles would be included in the ban.

The standard, first announced last September, will assign HGVs star ratings based on in-cab visibility. Only those with the highest rating would be allowed to enter London when the proposed standard takes full effect in 2024.

At a Clocs progress event earlier this week (14 March) TfL programme manager Hannah White urged operators to have their say on Direct Vision in the ongoing consultation, which closes on 18 April.

“It’s not a done deal,” she said. “It’s what the mayor is proposing, and it’s important that we have the input from everyone in this room and elsewhere so that we can make it as workable as possible.”

The RHA has expressed concern over the estimated number of affected vehicles, and suggested a conflict with new Ultra Low Emission Zone legislation coming into force as early as 2019.

Chief executive Richard Burnett said: “It’s impossible for a haulier to buy a vehicle that complies with TfL standards – as no vehicle has been assessed against any standard. It is absurd to expect businesses to invest many tens of thousands of pounds in new, clean Euro-6 vehicles only to have them banned by TfL in a little over two years’ time.”

TfL queried the RHA’s figures from the meeting, but did not respond to requests for further information.

Greater Manchester logistics forum focuses on sustainable deliveries

Sustainable urban freight movements were a key focus of the second Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) logistics forum, held last week.

More than 60 public and private sector industry stakeholders came together to discuss ways to improve freight flow and mitigate the impact of deliveries on the urban environment across Greater Manchester.

Opening the event, TfGM chief executive Jon Lamonte announced the publication of the region’s 2040 Transport Strategy.

“This is a long-term framework to improve transport across the city region, creating a cleaner, greener, more prosperous Greater Manchester,” he said.

Manchester had also finalised its Low-Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan to ensure the city region met EU environmental targets.

“These will ensure the continued economic growth of one of the UK’s foremost city regions does not come hand-in-hand with a rise in air pollution and carbon emissions,” said Lamonte.

Measures include:  exploring the feasibility of a clean air zone; increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points; supporting sustainability in the freight and logistics sector.

The TfGM 2040 Transport Strategy follows the publication of the first Greater Manchester Freight and Logistics strategy adopted in July 2016.

Delegates were told about major highways infrastructure proposed for the Greater Manchester region, and given an insight into the skills requirements and opportunities for logistics.

Better use of urban consolidation centres was discussed by Graham Stewart from Arup Consultancy, while Sam Clarke (pictured below), director at final-mile operator Gnewt Cargo, detailed his business model of using 100% electric vehicles in London.

“We need to educate our customers; the consumer is driving our service delivery, changing our business and bringing greater complexities to the delivery. We need to educate, and legislation is assisting with this,” he said.

Clarke added that planning of business space had opened up the ability to occupy disused areas like garage parking and underground train station areas.

Allowing re-use of disused spaces located within a short distance to the user has been critical in making electric deliveries possible, he said.

“Pollution is close to my heart, Manchester must take on electric final-mile solutions,” Clarke said.

TfGM senior manager told it was “fantastic to see the expertise and enthusiasm” from both the public and private sector during the panel session, and the workshop sessions which took place following the presentations.

“This gives us great confidence that we will be able to collaborate effectively with partners as we look to deliver our Freight and Logistics Strategy,” he added.

The next TfGM logistics forum is planned for the autumn. Register your interest at

Majority of waste sites suitable for low entry vehicles says Aecom

More than two thirds of waste sites could be suitable for HGVs with low entry cabs, according to research by Aecom.

Aecom conducted a virtual assessment of 1,848 landfill, waste transfer and waste treatment sites in the south east of England.

Of these, Aecom found 1,190, or 64%, of the assessed sites would be suitable for low entry vehicles.

The long-term aim of the TfL-commissioned work is to build a directory of sites that operators can refer to in order to check the suitability of vehicles for a job.

Aecom designed assessment criteria against which sites can be examined for vehicle suitability.

Based around four key areas, the criteria considers height/depth of ruts/bumps on the site; approach angles for vehicles; the material the vehicle will drive over and how weather conditions will affect traction; water on the site and what it might cover.

Presenting the findings at the Clocs Conference and Exhibition yesterday, Aecom associate Jo Edwards told delegates the research was currently focused on waste sites, but would look to include general construction sites in the future.

The next step was to trial vehicles on the sites to confirm its findings, she said.

“Our assessment criteria is theoretical so we need to conduct some vehicle trials to validate the assessment criteria.”

She called for more clarity from manufactures on vehicles’ suitability for different jobs.

She said: “There’s so many variants on a theme, there are so many makes and models of vehicles, and it’s difficult to choose the right tools for the job. There’s some work still to go to demystify which truck can do which job, so we can make informed choices.”

Live from the Clocs Conference and Exhibition 2017

Now in its fourth year, the Clocs Conference and Exhibition is one of the leading showcase events for urban vehicle safety. Freight in the City reports live from the event at London’s ExCel.

RHA says Oxford zero emission zone is “unworkable”

A proposed zero emission zone that would see all petrol and diesel vehicles removed from Oxford city centre is “unworkable”, according to the RHA.

A £30,000 study into the feasibility of the zone was launched on 10 March. If successful, Oxford City Council said the scheme could be in place as early as 2020.

RHA regional operations manager for the West Midlands, Rhys Williams, told he was concerned the idea had not been properly thought through.

He said: “They spent millions on a flagship shopping centre and lured the likes of John Lewis. These stores need to be serviced. How do we get 26 pallets of freight [at a time] into them? They haven’t put any thought into the process.

“There’s an awful lot of consultation that needs to be had, and it concerns me, whether they’ll have it or whether they’ll just slap this diesel ban on immediately.”

Councillor John Tanner, Oxford City Council executive board member for a clean and green Oxford, said: “Air pollution has a significant impact on the health of residents and visitors to Oxford. Our vision is to create a city centre that people can live and work in without worrying about how vehicle emissions will impact on their health.”

Williams added that operating without diesel vehicles was not something the industry was opposed to, but it was not ready for it yet.

“It’s obviously a goal that we as an industry would love to see, but the technology just isn’t there at the moment. So what’s going to happen until we get there? We need to be real and sensible about it,” he said.

Last chance to book your free place at Freight in the City Spring Summit

Freight in the City Spring Summit is now only a few days away and promises to be a must-attend networking opportunity for anybody interested in improving last-mile deliveries in towns and cities.

More than 500 visitors from across the public and private sector have signed up to attend the one-day conference and exhibition on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.

Speakers from the UK and mainland Europe will be leading the debate on better ways to handle urban deliveries, while the exhibition will bring you the very latest vehicles, equipment and services for city fleets.

Doors open at 8.15, with a delicious bacon or egg roll waiting for you courtesy of Mercedes-Benz and Fuso Trucks UK, so make sure you get there early to look around the exhibition.

Freight in the City Spring Summit ‘Improving the last mile’ is supported by the Urban Transport Group, Transport for West Midlands, Mercedes-Benz and Fuso Trucks UK.

There is still time to reserve your free place to attend, so make sure you do so today, and we’ll look forward to welcoming you next week!




Vision Techniques to showcase anti-runaway and cycle safety vehicle tech at summit

Vision Techniques will be heading to the Freight in the City Spring Summit next month to showcase its vehicle runaway prevention technology.

The group will be highlighting its multiple award-winning and British built VT BrakeSafe safety system.

It has been developed to automatically prevent vehicle runaways by applying the handbrake if a driver forgets when leaving the vehicle.

The system, which is active whether the ignition is on or off, also monitors air braking pressure to prevent tractor trailer coupling rollaway.

It won five industry recognised awards last year including the Best Innovation Award at the Motor Transport Awards.

“We are very excited about attending this year’s summit. We are also showcasing enhanced cyclist detection this year with our VT TurnAware system, which eliminates the need for unreliable ultrasonics,” a spokesman said.

“This new technology uses video analytics to recognise any approaching dangers. By combining a blind spot camera with a CPU that looks for light, movement and pixel density, the TurnAware system can detect an approaching cyclist whilst ignoring objects moving in the other direction, including road furniture. It effectively prevents false alarming.”

Vision Techniques will also be demonstrating VT Record, its DVR video recording system.

“VT Record gives fleet managers peace of mind with 360° footage around the vehicle capturing any event to provide evidence and prove liability, saving money on claims and insurance policies,” said company sales manager Steve Smith.

The Freight in the City Spring Summit takes place 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium. Reserve your free place today.


By David Craik

Greater Manchester and Transport for the North invite operators to freight forum

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is inviting operators to come along to its second Logistics Forum on 7 March to address the challenges and opportunities for the freight sector across the region.

The event will bring together key speakers from TfGM and the freight sector, as well as three workshops in the afternoon focusing on: vehicles; urban deliveries; and consolidation.

Helen Smith, head of logistics, environment and active travel at TfGM, said: “It’s very important to us that the forum is a partnership between the public and private sectors, working together to identify challenges and put into practice solutions to support the environmental, social and economic ambitions of the city region.

“The March summit will focus on highways projects, consolidation, alternative fuels and the implications of a possible low-emission zone for freight in the region.”

She added that the afternoon workshops would consider ways to best support the forum’s activities and will help develop pilots and case studies for sustainable freight and logistics practices, “which are scalable and give tangible results”.

“It’s intended that the Forum is a channel for collaboration, consultation and sharing of best practice, and we hope that it will in time be recognised as a significant voice for the industry in Greater Manchester.”

Directly after the logistics forum, there will also be the opportunity to take part in a workshop run by Transport for the North (TfN), which aims to garner operator feedback for its Strategic Transport Plan (STP) under development.

TfN wants to enable an open discussion to ensure the needs of the freight and logistics sector are met by the STP proposals.

The events both take place on 7 March at Innside, 1 First Street, Manchester, M15 4RP.

TfGM’s forum will run from 09.30am to 2.30pm (including lunch), with the TfN workshop held from 2.30pm – 4.00pm at the same venue.

To find out more about the speakers and register, email:



Fors team to focus on driver and manager training at Freight in the City Spring Summit

Aecom, which manages and operates Fors, will be focused on ramping up driver training when it hosts a stand at the Freight in the City Spring Summit next month in Birmingham.

It will outline the recent introduction of Fors Professional, which it describes as a comprehensive package of essential training for managers and drivers.

“It will be delivered with cutting-edge content to help operators meet the Fors standard,” a spokeswoman said. “Fors Professional is designed to improve knowledge and professional standards for any commercial vehicle operator, addressing in detail today’s safety and efficiency challenges.”

Aecom stresses that all Fors Professional training is fully approved and meets Fors, Clocs and TfL’s Work Related Road Risk requirements. It also provides Jaupt-approved driver training delivered by qualified professionals.

Fors is a voluntary accreditation scheme that promotes best practice for commercial vehicle operators.

With more than 4,350 members, Aecom said it is gaining recognition as the transport industry’s “go-to accreditation scheme”.

It encompasses all aspects of safety, efficiency, and environmental protection by encouraging and training fleet operators to measure, monitor and improve performance. It also provides accreditation pathways for operators of any type, and for those organisations that award contracts and specify transport requirements.

“Fors members stand out from the crowd,” the spokeswoman added. “They work to standards above the legal minimum and have access to a wide range of exclusive benefits that provide a real competitive advantage.”

Find out more by coming along to the  Freight in the City Spring Summit held on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium. Make sure to reserve your free place today!

By David Craik