The winner of the inaugural Green Fleet award, chosen from a shortlist of six LCV-operating fleets nominated by our readership, is the London Borough of Hackney.
This public sector fleet of 470 vehicles operating in London has achieved substantial emission reductions through the use of driver training, telematics, fleet management software, speed limiters, vehicle procurement and specification and, most importantly, the adoption of alternative fuels.
The borough has pioneered the use of high-blend renewable biofuel, and is accelerating its take-up of electric vans in tandem with support for an off-street charging structure.
Hackney claims its use of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) biofuel enabled it to save 850t of CO2 in 2016/17 compared to the amount it would have produced without using biofuels (2,573t versus 3,423t), which works out as a reduction of 25%. When it began to roll out biofuels in 2010/11 its CO2 saving was just over 1%.
Under the direction of corporate fleet manager Norman Harding, who is a member of the London mayor’s Biodiesel Programme, Hackney is now working towards introducing a new biofuel called hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO), which is made from waste and so 80% carbon-efficient, according to Harding. He says tests have revealed further tailpipe emissions cuts of 11% of CO2, 33% in particulate matters, and 70% in NOx.
Harding says the borough is working towards establishing a supply chain that would allow all of its non-electric vehicles to run on this renewable fuel.
In October, Hackney replaced its fleet of Citroen vans with 250 new models from the same brand due to their facility to run on the waste-produced biofuel. It has taken delivery of 150 Berlingo light vans, 40 Dispatch medium vans, 20 Relay large vans and 40 Relay cage-bodied tippers, some of which are equipped with tail lifts.
Hackney’s main users of the LCVs will be its Housing Division, to provide property maintenance, Waste Services, which deals with recycling, street cleaning and maintenance, and the Parks Division for ground maintenance.
“We chose the Citroen brand…because Citroen supports us in our use of sustainable biofuels from waste,” explains Harding.
In conjunction with its expanding fleet of plug-in vans, Harding says Hackney has the potential to become fossil fuel-free, thus doing its bit to reduce global warming and improve local air quality.
The borough council currently has 35 EVs (8% of its fleet) with more on order, while within the borough boundaries there are 45 depot-based charging points plus 40 charging points on streets.
“Wherever possible EV technology will now be our first choice over diesel,” promises Harding.
Hackney is the only local authority in London to have signed up to the Government-backed Go Ultra Low electric vehicle programme, with Transport for London and the London Fire Brigade being the only other public operators in the city.
Swansea University has a history of taking initiatives to minimise its environmental impact having run bi-fuel and LPG vehicles for more than five years and having installed a charging point for electric vans in 2012 (it now has 10).
In January 2013 it took on its first plug-in van, a Renault Z.E. Kangoo, and in October 2017 it acquired its 15th electric van, meaning that over half of its fleet is now zero-emission at the tailpipe. The university is a member of the LowCVP (Carbon Vehicle Partnership) and is a Go Ultra Low-accredited company.
Swansea University acted as a technical expert for the Clean Air Swansea 2017 Roadshow, which was attended by alternative fuel vehicles, solar power companies, and charge point suppliers. It promotes greener motoring through outreach programmes with local schools and through providing electric vehicle transport support to sporting events.