Expert Blog

How fleets can help tackle air pollution in London

20180313 How fleets can help tackle air pollution in London [1]

In our latest guest blog post, Christina Calderato, Lead Sponsor for LoCITY at Transport for London, issues advice to fleets in the face of changing legislation and rising air pollution in our country's capital.

"Air pollution is one of the most significant challenges facing London. The equivalent of thousands of deaths per year are attributed to air quality related illnesses. It affects lung function development in children, and increases the risk of strokes and dementia in later life. Road transport is a major contributor to pollution in Greater London, accounting for 50 per cent of NOx emissions in 2013, with vans and HGVs responsible for 32 per cent of these emissions.

"At the same time, carbon dioxide emissions from transport are unlikely to decrease quickly enough to support the Mayor’s ambition for a zero carbon city by 2050 without significant action. Commercial vehicles are responsible for around 16 per cent of transport greenhouse gas emissions in London. Road freight movement is also expected to increase 20 per cent by 2031 to serve London’s growing population and economy. Substantial action must therefore be taken to mitigate the potential environmental impacts."

Planning now for a cleaner future

"LoCITY was launched by Transport for London in January 2016 to encourage the uptake of low-emission commercial vehicles. LoCITY is a five-year industry-led collaborative programme that has brought together fleet operators, central and local government, other public sector organisations, vehicle manufacturers, and refuelling and recharging suppliers to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions.

"We're supporting freight and fleet operators, vehicle manufacturers and infrastructure suppliers to increase the availability and uptake of ultra-low and zero-emission commercial vehicles and supporting boroughs in upgrading fleets to cleaner vehicles and alternative fuels. It is also preparing the freight industry for the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

"LoCITY is industry-led, with a series of working groups established to provide expert advice and guidance on the direction of the programme. Outputs so far include technical and market research reports, refuelling infrastructure mapping, video case studies, and fleet and supply chain advice and guidance. By the end of its first year, nearly 1,000 fleet stakeholders from over 600 organisations were participating in LoCITY.

"Over the next year, we will be developing an impartial, trusted evidence base on the performance of alternative fuels in commercial vehicles. One project will evaluate the emissions performance of various fuels and technologies in refuse collection vehicles. This will give fleets much needed confidence that these technologies can meet their operational needs, benefit the environment and offer good value for money. We will continue to organise events to give fleets hands-on experience of alternatively fuelled vehicles, including LoCITY Roadshows and our Annual Conference."

What advice would LoCITY give to fleets?

"Broadly our advice to fleets has two elements. Firstly, they need to make sure they are compliant with the T-charge (which came into force in October 2017) and ready for the London’s ULEZ, which will start in April 2019. Operating a Euro VI diesel fleet will ensure they can drive in central London without paying an additional daily charge.

"Secondly, as explored in Hitachi Capital's Future of Fuel Report, fleets should consider adding alternative fuels into their operation. Low running costs and a 100 percent discount on the Congestion Charge mean that electric models are often cost-effective for cars and light commercial vehicles. The picture is more complex for heavy vehicles, with a range of technologies available, so fleets will need to consider which one best meets their needs. LoCITY’s whole life cost tool, due in early 2018, will help fleets objectively evaluate their options."

- Christina Calderato, Lead Sponsor for LoCITY at Transport for London. Find out more about the LoCITY programme.