Whistl trialing the first electric Renault Trucks Master ZE

Whistl trialing the first electric Renault Trucks Master ZE

Whistl trialling the first electric Renault Trucks Master ZE to be licensed on UK roads

Delivery management company Whistl has announced that it is trialling the first electric Renault Trucks Master ZE to be licensed on UK roads.

The all-electric 3.1 tonne van has a range of around 100 miles (160km) and is being trialled in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Whistl on day-to-day operations, collecting business mail and parcels.

Working with Renault, Whistl is looking at ways of reducing emissions across its 400 strong fleet of vans and HGVs and is keen to embrace new technology to enable it to reach its goal of a sustainable transport strategy.

Phil Brown, depot manager at Belfast, said, “The vehicle is a revelation and the drivers love it. It is quiet yet the acceleration is immediate and driving it is no different from a normal van. The emissions are zero and the anticipated cost of running it are so much lower than traditional diesel.”

Baz Barrett, Whistl’s national fleet and compliance manager, added, “It is vital that we as a business continue to look at new technologies and adapt our fleet in this way. We already have an excellent relationship with BRS/Renault Trucks and so when we knew this 100% electric vehicle was coming to market, we wanted to see how we could integrate it into our fleet in core urban areas. From the feedback so far, it works really well and there is great scope to introduce it into our fleet now to enable us to reduce our carbon and NOx footprint.”

Graham Neagus, head of LCV on behalf of BRS and Renault, said, “Renault Trucks and BRS are delighted to be working with Whistl to help them enter the world of electromobility with the new Renault Trucks Master ZE.

“This vehicle is available in a wide range of styles, is ideal for parcel deliveries carrying over 1,000kg [2,200 lb] payload, and is able to cover 100 miles [160km] per charge – and all with zero emissions.

“Our clients in cities across Europe are placing orders now for the Master ZE, which is one of three full-electric products from Renault Trucks, including both 16 and 26 tonne rigid HGVs.”

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The Conservatives have proved that the economy can benefit from going green

The Conservatives have proved that the economy can benefit from going green

The Conservatives have proved that the economy can benefit from going green

A Conference is always an exhausting experience! But it’s also great fun – my mum has always come with me, ever since I was a new candidate for the party, and in recent years, my sister, husband, eldest son and many of his friends all come along too, which gives us a great chance to catch up and for me to spend time with the many young Conservatives.

This year’s conference has a particular resonance for me, as I have a great opportunity to put forward my priorities as the new business secretary. I was delighted to be offered the role in the summer – after 25 years in the City, becoming the Government’s lead minister supporting our country’s thriving and innovative economy is a great privilege, and my previous experiences as environment secretary and energy minister impressed upon me the urgent need to address climate change.

The latter brings me straight in to one of my three priorities for this role: net zero. I’m proud that we have committed to end our contribution to global warming entirely and to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have gone further and faster than any other G7 country in doing so, and being nominated by our UN Group to host the crucial COP26 talks next year is an endorsement of our leadership so far.

But there is more to do, and an abundance of opportunities when it comes to addressing climate change. The Conservatives have proved that the economy can benefit from going green – we’ve nearly halved emissions since 1990, while growing the economy by more than two-thirds.

There are opportunities both economically and environmentally in new nuclear, in carbon capture usage and storage, and in decarbonising our transport system. In the future, we could earn up to £170bn a year from exporting low carbon innovation, and by 2030 a third of our electricity will be generated by the offshore wind sector. I visited such a wind farm in Aberdeen recently, and was very impressed that just one turn of one wind turbine could power the average UK home for 24 hours.

In fact, our renewables sector is a true British success story, which will continue to thrive after we leave the EU. Over the last five years, investment in renewables has more than doubled, while the low carbon sector grew four times faster than the wider economy.

And that brings me on to another ambition: seizing the fantastic opportunities that await us when we leave the EU and become a more global-facing, free-trading nation. The UK has long been recognised as a science superpower – but we want to remain world-leading in new and emerging economic opportunities.

I want to build on our world-leading position by driving up productivity to create even more jobs, growth and opportunity across all four corners of the UK.

That’s why our modern Industrial Strategy leads with grand challenges in areas such as space, artificial intelligence and healthcare. We are working to support healthy ageing, with the aim of giving every one of us an extra five years of healthy, independent life by 2025.

To this end, we’ve recently announced £133m of investment on life-changing treatments and gene-based therapies for conditions including arthritis, cancer and dementia.

We’ve also announced our creation of a £200m project to examine and sequence the genetic code of 500,000 volunteers at the UK Biobank – one of the world’s most ambitious gene sequencing programmes ever. This genetic research will result in faster prevention, identification and treatment of some of the world’s most terrible diseases such as cancer, dementia and Parkinson’s.

This Conservative Government is also taking advantage of the opportunities provided by electric vehicles – which is why we recently announced £400m to develop rapid charging infrastructure points for electric vehicles, together with the Department for Transport.

Finally, a key ambition for me in this new job is that I want to make Britain the best place in the world to work and to live: ensuring that businesses are treating their workers fairly. I want to ensure that parents are enabled to spend time with their young children; to stop employers discriminating against their employees; and to put legislation in place to make it crystal clear to employees what their rights are.

We’ve already made steps to this end, too. In the Spending Review, the chancellor announced additional budget to enforce the minimum wage and proactively protect those most vulnerable of being underpaid. Our Good Work Plan offers the biggest upgrade in workers’ rights for a generation – including new rights for workers to receive a payslip and further protections for employees against exploitative or negligent employers.

Being business secretary provides me with the opportunity to, together with an amazing team, realise some of these ambitions and benefit the country in doing so.

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UK should stop plans to ramp up use of ‘industrially’ compostable packaging

UK should stop plans to ramp up use of ‘industrially’ compostable packaging

UK should stop plans to ramp up use of ‘industrially’ compostable packaging, MPs warn.

Compostable plastic packaging has been criticised by a committee of MPs

The use of ‘industrially’ compostable packaging should not be promoted in the UK because the waste management infrastructure to deal with it is ‘not fit for purpose’, a committee of MPs has warned.

Much of the compostable packaging produced for the UK market only degrades in industrial composting facilities in specific industrial conditions, rather than in home composting – but not all is sent to these facilities. Industrial composting conditions require “elevated temperatures (55-60°) combined with a high relative humidity and the presence of oxygen”.

In its latest report on plastic food and drink packaging, UK’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee stated: “Although industrially compostable plastic packaging is appealing as an alternative to conventional plastics, the general waste management infrastructure to manage it is not yet fit for purpose.

“In addition, we are concerned that consumers are confused about how to dispose of compostable packaging, particularly if there is no dedicated compostable waste bin available. This could result in contamination of dry recycling as well as littering. We therefore don’t support a general increase in the use of industrially compostable packaging at this stage.”

However, it went on to state that industrially compostable packaging could play a role in closed loop environments, such as sporting events and workplace with catering facilities, where there is a dedicated disposal and collection service.

The news comes as the use of alternatives to fossil fuel-based plastic are being adopted by many food and drink companies, cafes, takeaway coffee venues, cafes and retailers.

Overall, experts that gave evidence to EFRA echoed the committee’s concerns over industrially compostable packaging.

‘Problem to marine life’

Sarah Greenwood, packaging technology expert at the University of Sheffield, said: “There is a perception with compostable packaging that it turns into compost, but it does not. It turns into carbon dioxide, water or methane with a tiny amount of biomass left behind.”

Environmental NGOs told the committee that the rapid introduction of such alternatives could actually increase plastic pollution.

Juliet Phillips, ocean campaigner of the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: “If a biodegradable cup gets into the sea, it could pose just as much of a problem to marine life as a conventional plastic cup.”

Trade body the Environmental Services Association highlighted that “there are a number of barriers to ensuring compostables work effectively with the waste management system and actually offer an environmental benefit”. The organisation said that industrially compostable packaging should be “sent to an In-Vessel Composting facility (IVC)”.

However, the Government’s “preferred option for treating food waste is anaerobic digestion (AD), meaning that the infrastructure portfolio will move increasingly in that direction and away from IVC”, the ESA added. The trade body went on to say that compostable packaging “is not currently processed by AD plants, and so operators will seek to extract it as they do with plastic contamination, and send it to energy from waste or landfill”.

However, not all the experts who gave evidence to EFRA’s report were critical of compostable packaging and gave praise to the material.

Vegware (@vegware), a compostable packaging manufacturer, stated that “where suitable composting is not possible, we advise people to put our products in general waste”. Vegware also stated that “the benefits of choosing lower carbon, renewable, recycled or reclaimed materials apply no matter what happens to them after use” and stated that studies showed that incineration of their products “produces more heat than newspaper, wood or food waste”, which is beneficial when producing energy from waste, and that “it produces no volatile gases and leaves little residue”. It added that “in landfill, studies show that compostable packaging and does not give off methane”.

The Bio-Based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA) has stated that compostable materials are an “answer to specific packaging challenges and could substitute around 5-8% of current plastic packaging”.

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Tories pledge ‘green’ funding for electric cars and new forests

Tories pledge ‘green’ funding for electric cars and new forests

Tories pledge ‘green’ funding for electric cars and new forests

Ministers say the measures will help achieve the target of making the UK carbon neutral by 2050.

The Government is promising to invest up to £1 billion in developing electric cars while planting a million new trees as part of a package to help make the UK carbon neutral by 2050.

On the eve of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, ministers said the measures were the latest step towards delivering a science-led “net zero” in line with the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change.

They include the creation of a new fund to invest up to £1 billion over five years to boost the production of key “green” technologies in the motor industry, including batteries, electric motors, power electronics and hydrogen fuel cells.

Minsters said that as well as helping to achieve the 2050 net zero target, they would create hundreds of thousands of high-skilled, high paid jobs.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom says the measures will reduce emissions while creating low carbon jobs (Jonathan Brady/PA)

At the same time, the Government is promising to establish a new Great Northumberland Forest, as well as creating more green spaces across the UK.
It will begin with the planting of three new forests in Northumberland, with up to a million trees between 2020 and 2024, reducing damaging carbon emissions while improving biodiversity.

Ministers are also pledging to support a programme to develop new “pocket parks” – while regenerating existing ones – on small pieces of derelict or undeveloped land in urban areas.

In other measures, the Government is committing £200 million to the initial development phase of the planned nuclear fusion power station which offers the prospect of limitless electrical power with minimal waste from 2040.

The Government has also said it is introducing new home-building standards, improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions from 2025.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Addressing climate change is a top priority for the Conservative Party, and today’s announcements will not only help us reach our net zero 2050 target, but will benefit communities and households – and improve wildlife and well-being – while doing so.
“The Conservatives are doing this properly: creating hundreds of thousands of low carbon jobs and growing our economy while successfully reducing emissions.”

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers added: “The planting of one million trees will be fundamental in our commitment to be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.

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Mayor sets out plans for London’s electric vehicle future

Mayor sets out plans for London’s electric vehicle future

Epansion plans for London’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network

The mayor of London, as set out his plans for a major expansion of London’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network to ensure the capital continues to be one of the world’s leading zero-emission cities.

London’s plan follows the mayor’s establishment of the world’s first electric vehicle infrastructure taskforce, bringing together representatives from business, energy, infrastructure, government and the London boroughs. The past year has seen more than 140 organisations contribute to the work of the taskforce.

The new plan estimates the number of EV charge points required in the next five years, based on different scenarios for the growth of electric vehicles and looks at how this can be delivered with less public subsidy and without installing points which are underused or outdated.

The taskforce and other industry partners will support the mayor in driving forward a number of initiatives in the plan including:

  • Installing the next generation of ultra-rapid charging points at London petrol stations later this year.
  • Delivering five flagship charging hubs, with the ability for multiple cars to quickly be charged in one place. The first of these hubs will be operational in the heart of the Square Mile by the end of the year.
  • A new ‘one-stop-shop’ for Londoners to request new charging infrastructure from their local authority in areas of high demand led by London councils, making it easier for drivers to switch to electric vehicles.
  • Expanding electric car clubs and bringing more vehicles to market, offering greater choice to Londoners and businesses.
  • New online smart tools to ensure London’s energy grid continues to keep pace with demand and to help unlock private sector investment.

Speaking at the launch of the London EV Infrastructure Delivery Plan at the Institution of Engineering and Technology today, mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “We need to reject the fossil fuels of the past and embrace an electric revolution in London’s transport. To truly transform the quality of our air and to tackle the climate crisis London must move away from petrol and diesel cars, with their catastrophic impact on the environment, and towards zero- emission vehicles.

“I want London to lead the world in this ambition, with all new cars and vans on London roads to meeting these standards by 2030, not 2040 as the government is proposing. To make this vision a reality we must make sure all Londoners have access to the essential infrastructure required to run and maintain an electric vehicle. This is a massive operation and can only be achieved if the public and private sector come together to deliver London’s electric future.”

National Infrastructure Commission chair, Sir John Armitt, said: “A zero-emission van and rapid-charging network will be welcomed by London’s drivers and highlights the importance of electric vehicles to improving air quality in our cities and reducing the impact of the growth in urban freight. But more action will needed – such as the ban on new diesel HGV sales by 2040 we recommended in our recent report on freight and reinforcing the electricity network – if we’re to meet the UK’s climate change targets and clean up the air in London and other cities. The government should charge Up Britain by committing to a truly national rapid charging network and give cities new powers over transport so they can follow London’s example.”

The plan outlines how London is on track to deliver the necessary infrastructure for a radical growth in electric vehicles, which estimates show could increase from around 20,000 today to over 330,000 by 2025.

Electric Vehicles and Rapid Charging

Zero emission capable (ZEC) vehicles have environmental and financial benefits, and will help London become a zero carbon city by 2050. We are working with partners to develop a network to help you charge them quickly and efficiently.

 

We need to clean up London’s air and rid the Capital of the most polluting vehicles. The Mayor has an ambition to make London’s transport network zero carbon by 2050 – this will bring improvements in air quality (see the Mayor’s Transport Strategy).

To achieve this we need to support and accelerate the shift to zero emission technologies.

Electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure

Speeding up the move to electric vehicles is critical to creating a zero emission future. The Mayor established the Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Taskforce in 2018. Experts from the public and private sector representing business, energy, infrastructure, government and London boroughs – supported by more than 350 stakeholders from over 140 different organisations – looked at ways to unlock barriers to expanding charging infrastructure and accelerating the switch to EVs in London.

The London electric vehicle infrastructure delivery plan shows fleets, businesses and London’s residents that there is a clear way forward towards the right type and amount of charging infrastructure to serve London’s needs.

Zero emission capable (ZEC) vehicles

ZEC is the collective term for vehicles that can operate with zero exhaust emissions. Most car and van manufacturers have ZEC models available, with more due to come to market in the next few years. Find out more about ZEC vehicles, and get help to choose the right vehicle for you, at Go Ultra Low.

There are three types of ZEC vehicles:

  • 100% pure electric vehicles are powered by a battery which drives the electric motor. They have no exhaust emissions. Battery electric vehicles typically have a range of around 80 miles but some can achieve up to 300 miles
  • Plug-in hybrid and range-extended electric vehicles also have a conventional diesel or petrol engine, meaning they have a longer range than with a battery alone
  • Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles have a fuel cell which uses hydrogen to produce electricity and power the vehicle’s wheels. They typically have a range of around 300 miles

Benefits

By switching to a zero emission capable vehicle you can save money on fuel costs, reduce harmful vehicle emissions and help clean up London’s air.

There are also financial benefits:

 

How to charge your vehicle

Most people charge at home overnight or at their workplace, but some will need to charge while they are on the move. Grants are available for electric vehicle charging infrastructure at home and at workplaces.

Public charge points can be found on the street and in key destinations such as shopping areas. You will usually need your own charging cable to use public charge points, although rapid charge points have the cable built in.

Different manufacturers use different connector types. Check with your vehicle manufacturer to find out what type of connector your vehicle uses and whether it is capable of rapid charging.

Charge point maps by Zap-Map show where your nearest public charge point is, the connector types, charging speeds, which network the charge point is operated by and how much it will cost to charge. Frequent users can join network membership schemes. Most networks also offer pay as you go charging.

We have guidance and research about zero emission capable vehicles that will help us, the London boroughs and charge point providers put charging infrastructure in the right places. Find out about ULEV research.

Rapid charge points for London

Rapid charge points can charge an electric vehicle battery in 20-30 minutes. This is quicker than regular charge points that can take 7-8 hours for a full charge.

At most of these charge points you can pay as you go with a credit or debit card – you don’t need to be a member.

Rapid charging bays (e-bays) are designed to be used by electric vehicle users only while charging. Any other vehicle parked in the bay may be issued with a penalty.

We’ve created more than 180 rapid charge points across London – we’re committed to installing 300 by 2020.

Mayor’s map of electric vehicle charge points

The London Electric Vehicle Charge Points map is a simplified map of rapid charge points across Greater London and up to the M25. The map shows:

  • Your nearest public and taxi-only charge points
  • Charging speed
  • Which network the charge point is operated by
  • Operating hours
  • Charge points delivered with our support

The map does not currently show all non-TfL funded charging points across London.

Find your nearest charge point

We’re investing £18m and working with the boroughs and other organisations to provide the rapid charging points London needs. Sites are on arterial roads we own and maintain, borough roads, car parks and on private land, including Heathrow Airport and multiple Shell service stations.

Most networks also offer pay as you go charging (charge point costs will depend on the operator).

Other rapid charge points

Non-TfL funded rapid charge points are also available in London.

Taxi-only rapid charge points

The Mayor wants to establish London’s taxi fleet as the greenest in the world and to phase out diesel. New taxis need to be zero-emission capable to be licensed. Tighter requirements have also been introduced for private hire vehicles (minicabs). Find out more about our how we’re creating greener taxis and greener PHVs.

Rapid charge points will promote the greening of London’s iconic black cab fleet, with many charging points dedicated exclusively to their use. E-taxi bays in several places are being restricted to London licensed e-taxis only. Drivers of other electric vehicles who park in an e-taxi bay risk getting a penalty. Find alternative charging locations on the Zap Map website.

Rapid charging networks

Five networks will be responsible for installing, operating and maintaining rapid charge points on public land across London. These networks are ESB EV SolutionsFastnedGeniePointPOLAR and Source London.

Drivers will be able to pay to use rapid charge points without having to register or being a member of a scheme. Visit the network websites for more information on charging costs.

Customer support

Customers will be supported by network operators at 24-hour, seven-days-a-week call centres. They have access to the latest information, such as the location and availability of rapid charge points, both on the web and through apps. The location data is being made available to encourage developers to create more apps.

Go Ultra Low City Scheme

The Go Ultra Low City Scheme (GULCS) is a joint TfL and borough programme that aims to deliver over 1,000 on-street electric charge points for London’s residents and car club vehicles by the end of 2020. The residential charging network will help Londoners without access to off-street parking make the switch to zero emission capable vehicles. Car club charging points will help car club operators transition their fleets. Contact your local borough’s transport officer to register your interest in a charge point.

The GULCS project is also funding at least six ‘Neighbourhood of the Future’ (NoF) projects – these will act as a testbed for innovative EV charging technologies, initiatives and policies to support the growth of clean vehicles in London.

Commercial vehicles

Zero emission capable vehicles can help businesses and commercial drivers reduce costs, emissions and the level of servicing and maintenance required.

LoCITY is an industry-led programme with information to help the freight and fleet sector reduce emissions and switch to ZEC vehicles. 

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Whitelee Windfarm has been breath of fresh air in efforts to go green

Whitelee Windfarm has been breath of fresh air in efforts to go green

Whitelee Windfarm has been breath of fresh air in efforts to go green

An East Renfrewshire wind farm has been hailed as a “national success story,” a decade on from its official opening.

Whitelee windfarm is the largest onshore wind project in the UK, was created to significantly boost the number of homes powered by renewable energy. It began generating electricity in January 2008 and was officially connected to the National Grid a year later.

Whitelee Windfarm economic, environmental and social benefits

On Friday, a report was published into the economic, environmental and social benefits of the Whitelee Windfarm. It notes that it has generated enough clean, green energy to provide almost 90 per cent of total annual household electricity consumed by Scottish households and businesses.

  • The report also highlights that the wind farm is expected to provide a boost to the UK economy of more than £1billion, including almost £800million in Scotland.
  • The wind farm, in a rural location near Eaglesham, was found to have supported more than 4,000 jobs during its peak years of construction while sustaining around 600 jobs each year through its operation and maintenance.
  • Enough carbon dioxide is saved by the wind farm, the report notes, that it is the equivalent of offsetting two days’ worth of domestic flights to and from Gatwick Airport.

Lindsay McQuade, of ScottishPower Renewables, which owns and operates Whitelee Windfarm said efforts to achieve Scotland’s environmental targets can be achieved through working with industry and are underpinned through legislation.

“We know that onshore wind is the cheapest form of green energy and therefore should be part of Scotland, and the UK’s, low carbon, cost-effective electricity system,” said Ms McQuade.

“Since the passing of the Climate Change Act in 2008, a number of progressive policy measures have been put in place that has enabled Scotland to become coal-free.

“Working with industry and government, the same approach is now needed to ensure we continue to invest in much-needed renewable generation and thereby achieve this objective and support action to tackle the climate emergency facing us.

“Whitelee WindFarm is a great example of what effective policy can deliver. It’s a national success story.

“Every year, it produces the equivalent clean energy to power each and every electric vehicle currently in the UK, preventing over five million tonnes of carbon emissions had this energy come from fossil fuels.

“The decarbonisation of our economy, transport and heating systems can all be achieved through existing technology but that has to include onshore wind if we are to decarbonise by 2050.”

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