Consultants in Logistics


London is set to introduce the Ultra Low Emission Zone on Monday 8th April 2019 aimed at reducing air pollution. With less than a week until its launch, how have urban operators prepared their last mile delivery?

What does ULEZ mean for urban operators?

Operating 24/7, initially the ULEZ will cover the same area as Central London’s congestion charge. Lorries over 3.5t that do not meet the Euro 6 standard for emissions will be charged £100 a day.

Equally, vans must meet either Euro 6 emission standard for diesel engines or the Euro 4 emission standard for petrol engines. If not, they will have to pay £12.50 a day.

How are delivery companies reducing emissions?

There has been progress towards using cleaner vehicles, such as cargo bikes and electric vans. This week, Guy’s and St Thomas' announced cycle delivery trials of medical supplies as part of a wider ‘green’ initiative.

Falling within the new ULEZ, the trust is committed to reducing the number of freight deliveries. David Lawson, head of procurement at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We need to ensure critical deliveries every day across our central London hospital and community sites. With a cycle path on our doorstep, we are looking to trial cargo bikes in partnership with our pathology provider, Viapath.”

“This is part of a wider consolidation strategy to design out 90% of freight deliveries into the trust.”

Companies such as Sainsbury’s, Royal Mail, and Ikea have already integrated cargo bikes into their supply chains.

Royal Mail also operates a fleet of 100 electric vehicles and has aims to expand it. David Gold, director of public affairs and policy at Royal mail, said: "We have the largest 'feet on the street' network of 90,000 postmen and women, and we have reduced carbon emissions by 29% since 2005, but we want to find even more environmentally friendly ways to deliver to 30 million homes across the UK."

Parcel delivery firms DPD and Hermes are both investing in their fleets. DPD operates three all-electric micro-depots and wants to have eight in London. Hermes has 32 electric vans in London has placed an order of 30 compressed natural gas tractor units.

How are smaller companies effected by ULEZ?

The Confederation of British Industry welcomed the scheme as a “positive step in the right direction towards improving London’s air quality”.

However, Eddie Curzon, CBI London director, warned: “Smaller firms can struggle to afford the switch to low emission vehicles, and for some larger vehicles, there are simply no low emission alternatives available. To make a success of the ULEZ, it is crucial that City Hall works with firms to help them take advantage of new technologies and support them, where required, to accelerate the take up of low emission vehicles.”

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