January. The month of broken new years resolutions and the pitfalls of a post-Xmas diet! So what is LoCITY looking to achieve in 2019 and how will we achieve our goals?
LoCITY has been doing its part to make sure commercial drivers are prepared for launch of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London. Throughout 2018 our quarterly working groups, roadshows and annual conference contained speakers highlighting ways to go beyond the ULEZ compliance. The ULEZ is just the first step in a chain of events which will change how commercial vehicles will need to operate across inner London. The zone will be 18 times bigger by 2021 so it is a central part of the Mayor’s long term plan to tackle London’s toxic air and address the health impact of poor air quality.
It’s only three months until launch so more than 300 ULEZ signs have been installed across central London warning drivers at entry points of the Congestion Charge zone, where the ULEZ will operate 24/7/365. LoCITY is also advising everyone to check their vehicle’s compliance with the ULEZ emission standards, especially those early Euro 6 models, using Transport for London’s (TfL) online checking tool. 1.5 million checks have already been completed. However, if you think a vehicle is wrongly classified, please contact TfL via the website, so issues can be resolved before the scheme launches. Vehicles which don’t meet the new, tighter exhaust emission standards will have to pay a daily charge (£12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles, £100 for buses, coaches and lorries) to travel within the zone. Please remember that the Congestion Charge will be unchanged by the introduction of the ULEZ or any clean air zones and will continue to apply for all eligible vehicles entering the zone between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday.
A major change for LoCITY in 2019 is our inclusion within Version 5 of the FORS Standard which is effective from 14 January. Organisations with Bronze, Silver or Gold audit(s) must meet all version 5 requirements by this date. FORS have included new mandatory training requirements for Silver and Gold levels to reflect a greater emphasis on environmental impact and awareness. For silver the LoCITY Time to clean up eLearning module must have been completed within the past 24 months and for Gold the Professional LoCITY Driving classroom training course or FORS Approved environmental awareness training course should have been completed within the past five years. These are light touch courses and we’ll be refreshing the content over the first part of the year, especially relevant for those who are coming back to the modules for a second time. Since launch we’ve had nearly 34 thousand people complete the two LoCITY e-learning modules and 1,700 attendees to our classroom training, so it heartening to see our message getting out across the industry. If anybody has any feedback, which they’d rather give to us directly, then get in touch via LoCITY@tfl.gov.uk.
2019 is the midpoint of the LoCITY programme. As such we procured some independent member research so a few of you may have received a phone call asking your opinion on us! We are collating the results but still have heard a clear steer on how to move forward. This year we’ll be looking to improve our overall offering to members so it’s clear what benefits are involved in engaging with LoCITY. Providing better, more targeted networking opportunities and a stronger support system for members is key. If time is spent attending our events, using our website, reading the material or inputting data into our tools then we must make sure it provides the results you need to make better decisions. A stronger focus on what businesses need to feel more confident in sinking investment into new vehicles is critical as well as lobbying manufacturers and suppliers for appropriate infrastructure and stock. Ultimately we are providing policy support for businesses struggling to make a change and a platform for those who have successfully integrated alternative fuels. The Mayor’s recent announcement of a £23 million van scrappage scheme to help small businesses is testament to the work being done by LoCITY to ensure support is available for members. We just hope that those making a change are futureproofing their vehicle choice and considering where the city will be in three to five years time. For that reason LoCITY’s petitioning cannot be restricted to vehicles! Non-tailpipe commercial emissions will become progressively more scrutinised as the impact of cleaner fleets is felt in town centres across London.
Finally we’d like to thank all of the operators, manufacturers, and fleet managers who donated time to attend or support our work last year. TfL recognises that an industry engagement programme like LoCITY is only as successful as those willing to participate. We continue to work hard on your behalf and hope to see you this year too.