TfL tackles London’s air quality crisis with low-emission freight scheme

A new industry-led programme has been launched by Transport for London (TfL), offering increased availability of low-emission vans and lorries in an effort to reduce the emissions of the capital's freight and fleet operators.

The five-year LoCITY programme was launched by London’s transport commissioner Mike Brown yesterday (27 January). LoCITY will create a new environment operating standard to be followed by freight and fleet operators, vehicle manufacturers, fuel providers and the public sector.

“Over the next five years, LoCITY will begin improving London’s air quality by encouraging the take up of low emission vehicles,” Brown said.

“We’re working with vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure providers and the industry to make these vehicles a realistic choice for operators. Together we can improve London’s air quality, and by supporting the freight sector – which is essential for our city to function – we will have a real impact.

“The Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety (CLOCS) programme has shown this style of collaborative industry-led approach works – many lorries of the highest safety standards are now in use. LoCITY will help the industry as a whole continue to develop, whilst delivering a cleaner London.”

Boris’ backing

LoCITY will apply real-world trials and research to demonstrate that using cleaner vehicles will not introduce any negative operational impacts, while simultaneously improving air quality. The programme will consist of three workstreams that focus on increased availability of low emission vehicles, improving the alternate fuel infrastructure – including charging points – and improving policies and planning.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson hopes this new scheme will help strengthen the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will come into force in London in 2020 and is expected to almost halve emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) from vehicle exhausts in central London.

Johnson said: “LoCITY will form part of a series of strong measures I’m delivering to tackle air quality and safe guard the health and well-being of Londoners, but I’m fully aware much more needs to be done.

“Helping the freight industry is key to the success of the Ultra Low Emission Zone. I am confident that the strict tightening of our emission standards will help dramatically improve air quality and lower NO2 across the city.”

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) had previously called on Britain’s fleet operators and local authorities to band together to create a new low-carbon market for heavy goods vehicles.

Olympic effort

The LoCITY programme was launched alongside the announcement that an extra 310 docking stations have been placed at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the expansion of London’s cycle hire scheme.

In partnership with Santander Cycles, TfL has increased the number of individual cycle docks to 761 in an attempt to encourage more people to take up the pedal.

London is uniting with cities across Europe as part of a €25m project which will explore how innovative technologies including heating homes through the River Thames can improve the standard of living for city residents.

Matt Mace

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