Eagle Couriers has become the first courier north of the border to achieve the top grading in a council-backed initiative to improve air quality.

As part of a focus on reducing its carbon footprint, the Scottish B2B courier was awarded five stars in the ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme, which carried out an evaluation of its fleet of more than 100 vehicles.

The Bathgate-based B2B courier has followed the likes of Pepsico, First Group, Boots and Nestle in taking part in the free initiative that Scottish councils are backing in a bid to transform air quality in their towns and cities.

Director Jerry Stewart (pictured) said: “With a fleet in excess of 100 vehicles, all capable of racking up high mileage – even a 1% improvement would greatly reduce our emissions and impact on air quality.

“By improving miles per gallon we are also able to operate more effectively, making jobs more secure and potentially offering new opportunities to Scottish job hunters. We take pride in our responsible attitude towards fuel efficiency and reduced emissions and are delighted to have this recognised in our five-star rating."

He added that despite the company's achievement, there is always room for improvement, with ECO Stars providing helpful suggestions that are already being implemented or explored, such as anti-idling and in-cab fuel monitoring displays.

ECO Stars is a fast-growing initiative supporting councils to assess the efficiency of organisations’ fleets and the impact on air quality, offering expert advice to reduce impact, save money and gain positive recognition.

It also provides the tools and ongoing support for operators to reduce operating costs.

Eagle Couriers' rating is being officially recognised in seven Scottish councils: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Falkirk, North and South Lanarkshire and Fife.

This follows on from the firm receiving a ISO:14001 accreditation for environmental management after committing to annual targets of recycling 650 used tyres, 1,100 pallets and 1,500 litres of oil - waste that previously would have been sent to landfill sites.

Paul Wilkinson, ECO Stars Field Consultant for Scotland, said: “Eagle Couriers is exactly the sort of business we love to work with. They already operate in a very responsible manner and appreciate the benefits in improved operational efficiency beyond simply the financial. I would expect Eagle Couriers to make yet further improvements and be the type of firm to adapt to pioneering technology such as electric vehicles.”

Falkirk Council was the latest Scottish authority to join ECO Stars, improving local air quality and making £700k in operational savings as a result.