Transport for London (TfL) yesterday (22 July) announced a series of measures for freight operators, businesses, manufactuers and local authorities to boost uptake of low-emission goods vehicles in the capital.

In its Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Delivery Plan, TfL said it aimed to overcome the challenges and explore opportunities for stimulating greener technology and refuelling infrastructure in the commercial vehicle sector.

A Low-Emission Commercial Vehicle Programme would be launched this summer to co-ordinate these actions.

TfL noted that there was an enormous variation in the types of vehicle in this market, ranging from those with large depot-based fleets, through to sole traders with vehicles also used as private vehicles.

There were also issues with the vehicles themselves, with the additional weight from batteries impacting on the available payload and the higher up-front costs for van operators.

However, as commercial vehicle investment decisions are made on whole-life costs, TfL believed ULEVs could be attractive to fleet managers and business owners responsible for reducing fuel costs.

TfL said it would look to build on the relationships with the freight industry it had already established through the Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety programme and the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme to help operators and receivers of goods minimise the impact of their deliveries on air quality.

It planned to lead by example by including environmental standards within its procurement requirements; inform and support fleet operators, boroughs, vehicle manufacturers and cleaner fuel suppliers to increase availability and uptake of low-emission CVs and their fuel needs; and prepare the frieght sector fot the launch of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2020.

Local boroughs should look to use local policy measures such as priority loading and micro-consolidation that uses ULEVs for last-mile deliveries to incentivise uptake among businesses and freight operators, as well as requiring their own suppliers' vehicle to meet environmental standards.

Industry was urged to invest on the development of cost-competitive commercial ULEVs, while the government was called on to review the regulations on payload to help solve the issue of battery load taking payload over 3.5 tonnes in some instances.