Fors creates industry committe to shape standards during national roll-out

The Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (Fors) has launched a Governance and Standards Advisory Group (GSAG) to champion the direction and integrity of the initiative as it expands across the UK.

It will ensure the scheme’s remit remains up-to-date with industry requirements and changing legislation, while ensuring industry support for Fors and safeguarding its standards and brand.

Initially, the group will comprise four standing members, a representative from TfL, and a nominee from the three partnership organisations that now head-up Fors since its move to private management in February: concessionaire Aecom, CILT and Fleet Source.

MD Jacqueline O’Donovan from O’Donovan Waste Disposal, which recently achieved Fors gold status for the fourth consecutive year, is one of the GSAG’s inaugural members.

O’Donovan said of Fors: “Being part of Fors has helped us continually improve our operations and investment in our fleet, as the information and support we receive is invaluable.”

Further appointments to the group are expected to be made from a range of businesses and interested operators to provide a broad range of expertise and knowledge.

The first GSAG meeting will take place later this week (15 May).

Fors last month celebrated its 3,000th member milestone since its launch in by TfL in 2008.

 

Drivers breaking quiet nights code

One night last week in London, MT saw first-hand that many deliveries were being carried out as they would during the day, with no attempt to reduce noise.

Operators need to focus on improving driver behaviour if night-time deliveries are to become a permanent way of working after the London Olympics.

“It was disappointing that some deliveries we observed didn’t seem to be happening with more rigour; I was expecting it to be observable that drivers were really taking care and trying to be quiet,” says Lisa Lavia, MD of the Noise Abatement Society, who accompanied MT. “Some of the drivers were actually shouting right below residents’ windows.”

Between 11pm and 3am on 7-8 August, MT visited several areas of London, including the West End, the City and Earls Court Road.

Chris Douglas, director of Transport & Travel Research, who also accompanied MT, says: “It was surprising that some of the drivers we saw clearly either hadn’t been briefed, or had been briefed but didn’t get it, because some of the measures they could have used to minimise noise are very straightforward. Just taking a little more time and not letting things fall into place, for example.”

Douglas and Lavia were involved with the 10 TfL-funded quiet delivery trials late last year, which led to the creation of the TfL Quiet Delivery Code of Practice (CoP), which has been widely publicised. Anyone considering night-time deliveries during the Games was advised to use it.

While there were some examples of good practice, Lavia says some of the noisier deliveries were from firms that had definitely seen the CoP.

Night-time deliveries can save fuel and CO2

Operators can reduce their fuel bills and lower their carbon emissions if they are allowed to make out-of-hours deliveries.

The results of the Quiet Deliveries Demonstration Scheme (QDDS) trials, unveiled last week, show a raft of operational benefits as well as wider gains for local communities.

Developed jointly by the FTA, the Noise Abatement Society, and the DfT, the QDDS involved trials at six sites belonging to Tesco, Superdrug, Asda, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, and Sainsbury’s.

Although only four of the trials were completed, there were still valuable lessons learnt. Two guides – one for retailers and one for local authorities – have been created.

FTA director of policy and communications James Hookham says: “We now have a toolkit to show how quiet deliveries can be achieved. It’s encouraging for those who want to extend their delivery windows. There are significant benefits to be had – both commercially and environmentally.”

QDDS project manager and director of TTR, Chris Douglas, points out that not every site will be suitable for night-time deliveries so retailers need to be realistic about where they introduce out-of-hours trials.

“But these trials prove that operators can undertake deliveries outside of normal working hours in a well-managed, well-controlled way and not upset local residents.”

The cost of investing in quiet equipment may put off some companies, but Douglas adds: “A small incremental reduction in noise can be achieved by behavioural changes alone.”

Wincanton solutions director Gareth Smith agrees: “For our silent deliveries for WH Smith we have invested only in training drivers on behavioural changes. We could invest in quiet technology but with councils reticent on allowing night-time deliveries it’s not in our interest to make such a huge capital investment in equipment.”

To download the full results, go to www.fta.co.uk. See MT 11 July for an analysis of the results.