With Brexit negotiations currently taking up all the news, I thought it was very timely to hear positive messages from C40 Cities at the recent LoCITY working groups. Learning about what others are doing to combat climate change helps bring the global challenge into focus but also highlights how far London is pushing ahead in trialling innovative solutions. One area where we might take a look further afield is public procurement. It’s surely worth keeping an eye on Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Oslo as they aim to systematically introduce zero emission vehicles via their municipal fleet contracts (www.buyzet.eu). If that’s successful then could that influence how we implement Clean Air Zones?
There are 94 C40 affiliated cities in the world which have made a commitment to greener healthier streets. How this translates practically to peoples lives and then demands to business is defined locally by city leaders but with a collective ambition. London has a clear need to improve air quality and the recent publication of a Freight and Servicing Action Plan indicates the steps we’ll be introducing to address this – including more support for LoCITY! The plan outlines how the fleet industry can continue to meet needs of the economy, whilst decreasing the number of freight vehicles entering central London by 10 per cent over six years. A stiff challenge when the volume of freight and servicing trips are forecast to grow. This means trialling innovative solutions and learning from other parts of the world.
Our plan is for LoCITY to help share knowledge through webinars, surgeries and presentations from relevant organisations operating on the continent, China and North America. Many of these regions share common barriers where operator business models are shifting, policymakers don’t have accurate data on freight activity, manufacturer uncertainty is impacting consumer confidence, and agencies are wondering who will pay for new infrastructure. However, the approach being used to address this varies widely. China’s productivity model and commitment to delivery have seen them push ahead but does the UK currently have the ability to implement similar wholesale changes in short order? If not then what is looking more achievable? Organisations which forge alliances to trial new ideas and accelerate the market are critical whether that’s at a global scale like C40, nationally like Calstart in the United States, or regionally like Cross River Partnerships for London.
LoCITY will always seek to highlight organisations which are advocating smarter freight logistics and cleaner fuel technologies. Our members are doing more than most to make a difference but sometimes you need a quick reminder how far you’ve come in a short space of time.