This week saw the start of the Capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), signalling the Mayor of London’s ongoing commitment to cleaning up the city’s air.
Charging those who are driving vehicles that don’t meet tough emissions standards, it could have a sizeable financial impact on firms driving around the capital as part of their daily business.
But many companies accept a need to change to support clean air – and the launch of the ULEZ ties in with the business community’s long-standing efforts and innovations to reduce their carbon footprint.
Two CBI members explain why they’re prepared for the introduction of the new zone:
At Ocado, Suzanne Westlake, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Corporate Affairs, says the company’ focus on addressing carbon, in particular its fleet emissions and fuel efficiency, means its ready for the London ULEZ.
“Looking ahead, we have ambitious plans to test and develop further improvements, and we expect to announce more fuel efficiencies in the future,” she says.
Ocado has invested heavily in its fleet – all new vehicles are Euro 6 compliant, and it has commissioned 15 battery-powered electric vehicles to augment its Park Royal fleet, delivering into central London. Its fleet of Compressed Natural Gas vehicles – even cleaner than Euro 6 standards – is now the largest in the UK.
“We’ve also developed a stop-start technology for our vehicles that reduces idling time when loaded and awaiting departure,” Westlake adds. “The same technology also monitors the temperature in the chilled compartment and, at the right temperature, and if safe to do so, it will switch off the engine to cut emissions.”
At CitySprint, the UK’s largest same-day distribution company, Chief Executive Patrick Gallagher recognises that the company has an active role to play in lowering emissions. “As part of our commitment to operate an ultra-low emission fleet in central London by 2020, we have been turning our range of vehicle types on offer into one of our core strengths,” he says.
“We now have the largest courier cycle fleet in the UK, four electric vans, 40 cargo bikes and one hydrogen van; the latter of which was piloted with our client Mitie, travelling 5,000 miles, equating to 2 tonnes of GHG emissions and 90 trees saved from absorbing pollution.”
Its cycle fleet fulfils 4,000 jobs monthly and clocks delivery times up to 50% faster than small vans.
Beyond the fleet, CitySprint has collaborated with a group of PhD students from the University of Southampton to look at operational efficiencies beyond ULEZ. “This has allowed us to identify collection hotspots and delivery highways in London and develop a strategy to consolidate deliveries along these routes, potentially saving 200kg of CO2 per day,” explains Gallagher.
And recognising how technology can help, CitySprint has also introduced smart scheduling to reduce the number of miles per trip and wasted journeys, as well as auto-allocation software which makes intelligent decisions to allocate jobs to the most appropriate couriers.
If you’re a CBI member, find out more about what the ULEZ means for your business and listen to our podcast with Shirley Rodrigues, London’s Deputy Mayor for the Environment and Energy and Robert McIlveen, UK Policy Manager for Royal Mail.