City of London Corporation – Fleet changes to Fuel types

Introduction – The City of London Corporation is known for providing local government services to the UK’s financial centre, the Square Mile. What’s less well known is the range of other services it provides for the capital, from the stewardship of open spaces and woodlands such as Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest to the management of the Port of London docks at Tilbury, the wholesales markets of Billingsgate, Smithfield and Spitalfields, and even the Heathrow Animal reception Centre.

These varied responsibilities result in a very diverse fleet to manage, as well as the necessary drivers. To enable this the City set up the Transport Coordinating Group (TCG) in 2005 with representatives from departments across the organisation who have transport responsibilities. The TCG is chaired by the Director of procurement and meets every two months to discuss and resolve any transport related issues across the Corporation.

One of the actions the TCG identified early on is the implementation of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April 2019 and the Mayors strategy to ban diesel’s in the future from City areas and London.

The City first started the Journey on FORS in 2007 when the accreditation first started after hearing about it at a conference. Started going to the practitioner meetings and registered to go for Bronze. ” we knew then that FORS would help the City comply and set high standards”.

The first audit was carried out by the Metropolitan Police and it was a rigorous process that helped us make changes to the way our transport department operated, and this was for the better.

“This encouraged the City to make changes to the Transport department and get senior management support”. A great audit of our systems and processes in place.

Once the City received Bronze accreditation we knew the next steps were to go for Silver, this entailed attending practitioner’s courses, looking at the fuel performance tool and add our fuel/PCN, FPN’s onto the system and gather one years past history worth of data, this in turn helped the City understand and benchmark against other in our sector.

“Being part of FORS and LoCity enabled us to easily seek advice on best practice when developing The City of London’s strategy on future fuels to use” Quote by Vince Dignam Business Performance and Group Transport Manager.”

The City have seen key benefits such as the practitioner’s qualification for transport staff, Driver CPC training, LoCity e-learning training and workshops. The other benefits have been incorporating the standards into the procurement process for our contractors to have the FORS accreditation.

“FORS raising Standards and compliance within all sectors of Transport” Jim Graham Assistant Director City of London Cleansing.

The Main reasons for progressing through Silver and Gold was to make sure firstly all drivers were trained to a high standard and achieve an objective of complying with Work Related Road Risk and Vulnerable road users, this included safer vehicles and equipment on the vehicles to help achieve the City’s road danger reduction policy objectives.

We have used the performance data to track that was submitted on the FORS performance data sheets in S2 and G2 and fuel usage along with the NOx, CO2 data for air quality and it will help the City see how improvements are made as we move into modal shift for the operation and how we can improve air quality,  The City actively improving the fleet to ensure we are changing vehicles where we can to alternative fuelled vehicles. This has had a positive effect on carbon reduction and Nox. We now have three fully electric vehicles on the fleet giving us a 23% change. We are looking to make further changes as time goes on. You can see by the data that year 2020 we had very low vehicle use. This was due to COVID, then the miles and vehicle use increased when work went back, and the vehicles was used more at times to allow staff to take home as not to use public transport.

MPG Incidents per 100,000 Kms CO2 NOx PM10 Number of PCNs

Proportion of fleet that uses alternative fuels

Year 18/19 26879 0 17.0664 51.3662 0.8662 0 0%
Year 19/20 19093 0 7.7440 2.3382 0.0279 0 23%
Year 20/21 46073 0 17.5629 69.1415 0.0279 0 23%

The table contains information for City of London Fleet.

Due to where we operate and exemptions, we do not have a major problem with parking tickets/FPN’s so this part of the tool highlights that fact.

The City Have its own Occupational Health department and have had systems in place and declarations for Drivers Health Checks and a declaration of other employment. Since being a member of FORS we have also introduced Driver Health check forms and track any changes for Health issues and refer staff to Occupational Health for advice and guidance. The introduction of Six-monthly eye tests has been developed in line with the FORS standard, as part of this the City also pay for Drivers eye tests. Health and Safety have also launched an initiative on Mental Health awareness and support.

We work with the FTA, FORS and CLOCS as well as other organisations to investigate strategies to recruit drivers, at the City we identify staff that may want to drive LGV’s and this  identifies through continued professional development (CPD).The City have trained 5 members of staff to gain their LGV licence. Also worked with agencies who specialise in assisting Ex -army/military staff into civilian life who already have the skill sets to drive large goods vehicles.

The past year we have developed an apprentice in transport fleet administration and enabled them to benefit from the FORS practitioner courses and OLAT course. (operator’s licence awareness course). The apprentice has achieved so much development with the city that they won the apprentice of the year at the institute of couriers. One other area we are looking at is apprenticeships to develop drivers and hoping to progress this over the next few years.

The City of London have a noise at work Policy, and this is being added to the driver’s handbook with regards to drivers when loading un-loading, in residential areas and out of hours work. In addition, as a specifier of contracts on the Cleansing and waste contract the City have imposed conditions in residential areas during the Hours 23:00 – 07:00am at specified locations. Have an anti- Idling policy that staff and contractors adhere to, this initiative has toolbox talks as reminders throughout the year.

With regards to Modal shift the City of London are using the river for the transfer of waste and  disposal from its transfer station in London that is managed by Cory, in addition to this via the Construction Logistics working group we are looking at how other material can be moved on the river and how consolidation would support this.

Vince Dignam and Sarah Maxwell responsible for transport at the City of London Corporation decided to join the Westminster commission road air quality working groups to see how this would help make decisions in the future. We have found that the Westminster commission road air quality working groups and conferences have helped tremendously by firstly talking to other transport operators who face the same challenges and working out what future technology will support our strategies. We knew early on in these programmes that this would help for planning in the future with all the legislative changes coming.

We continue to implement a wide range of initiatives to improve local air quality through our ambitious Air Quality Strategy. A key aim of the strategy is for at least 90% of the Square Mile to meet the heath-based targets for nitrogen dioxide by 2025. We are already on track to meet this as we have gone from a very small part of the City that met the target in 2016 to 30% of the area in 2018 and 67% in 2019.

The City of London have supported this initiative and presented at various workshops and conferences to share experiences.

So far, the City have been involved in trialling various alternative fuelled vehicles from LPG vans, cars to the most recent we have just had delivery of the 26 tonne and 18 tonne  Electra Refuse  vehicles collection fully electric that is on a Mercedes Econic chassis (Low entry High vision cab) and has a fully electric compaction body and bin lift mechanism.  We trialled this vehicle as a concept vehicle along with other EV sweepers and with help from our responsible procurement strategy these vehicles are now being rolled out on our cleansing contract making the fleet fully electric.

The City have worked with their term contractors on special projects relating to different fuel typed vehicles such as on our Highways contract trial the fully electric 3.5 tonne Iveco tipper for the City contract as well as an electric lift on the mobile access lighting van vehicle and the Maxus Tipper with Riney. We have trialled the Mercedes EV Vito and the Volkswagen EV Crafter alongside the Ford Hybrid transit van.

The City have added some Nissan Env – 200 fully electric vans to the fleet and a LDV fully electric van. We have changed the Lord Mayors cars to a Tesla X model and then two electric taxis.

One of the other important factors is to raising awareness of the staff that drive for the City and as part of the FORS accreditation and training the City have set up the Lo-City e-learning courses and Lo-City driver training courses to be carried out by staff and term contractors. a. Part of the engagement plan has been to engage and encourage departments to test drive the different types of alternative fuelled vehicles which has led to departments purchasing Electric vans, Hybrid cars, electric quad and Golf style buggies. The City have also purchased a Mega electric tipper with power wash machine on for cleaning. Rasin our apprentice has also presented at a virtual Lo-City meeting promoting apprenticeships and the work the city has been doing on alternative fuelled vehicles. As part of all this Rasin also got to speak to the Andrew Stephenson MP on apprenticeships and the work the City are doing on air quality.

The City Co Hosted the Future Fleet forum in January 2018 & 2019/ 2020 with New York and LAPV at the Guildhall, this showcased vehicles and had presentations for Air quality, future vehicles and case studies for the future vehicles and infrastructure and promoted the FORS standard, Vision Zero was launched as well with New York City. Due to Covid no live forums took place during 2021, but Vince did attend virtual forums, one was on vision zero in New York, Vince presented at EV café and Green-fleet.

All our contractors and City vehicles will meet the Direct vision standards and have low entry high vision vehicles on fleet.

The City are very proud to have the Gold FORS accreditation standard and where one of the first 12 companies to gain this and maintain the standard year on year for a decade.

The benefits are knowing that you are compliant with robust policies in place, keeping up to date with changes and FORS help with this process with Practitioner working days and specific working groups and workshops on initiatives that are developing. One other major benefit was to add into our supply chain which fits into the City’s responsible procurement strategy and the need to have FORS accreditation as this gives peace of mind that operators in the supply chain are working to one standard.

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*Please note: All published FORS Gold case studies have been submitted by the accredited company named above and transcribed verbatim