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Clean Air Zones to impact 40% of businesses, research shows

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More than four out of 10 businesses (43%) believe they will be affected by the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZ) across the UK and the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London, 

The findings stem from the 2020 Arval Mobility Observatory, which gains insights into fleet and mobility trends across the UK and Europe through a wide ranging set of questions.

It also asked respondents how they will react to the introduction of CAZs and the ULEZ. In total, 76% said they will replace vehicles to meet the new standards, 27% will find other types of transportation to allow them to continue doing business within the zones, and 27% will make no changes, accepting the impact and cost.

Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said: “These results indicate the ways in which fleets are planning to manage the introduction of the new zones across the country although, of course, many have now been delayed by the coronavirus crisis.

“Overall, more than four out of 10 believe they will be affected and, of these, around three out of four plan to meet the challenge by operating vehicles that meet whatever new regulations are being introduced.

“To us, this is unsurprising. In most places, the introduction of CAZs are really designed to remove vehicles that use older, less clean emissions technology from cities. The truth is that because the regulations are relatively straightforward, many fleets are already compliant. Over the next couple of years, just through normal, planned replacement of vehicles, most should meet the regulations.

“It’s also thought-provoking to see that around a quarter are planning to use alternative modes of transport. It would be fascinating to know what these are, especially whether some fleets are going to be able to make a switch into public transport or other mobility options.”

TP Fire & Security boosts driver safety and MPG while cutting emissions and idling time

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TP Fire & Security, one of the UK’s leading providers of fire and security protection, has announced the successful implementation of Lightfoot’s award-winning in-cab technology across its fleet, leading to increases in fuel economy of over almost 10%, a 59% uplift in elite driver numbers, and the eradication of instances of dangerous driving.

Utilising Lightfoot’s pioneering driver rewards platform, TP Fire & Security has also seen an 57% fall in instances of over acceleration, an 8% drop in harsh cornering, and a 7% fall in vehicle idling.

The organisation, which provides everything from alarm system maintenance and installation to extinguisher servicing and risk management, operates a fleet of 34 vans consisting of Citroen Berlingo and Renault Traffic vehicles. 

In addition to its installation team, TP Fire & Security also has an emergency call-out team, which rapidly deploys engineers to address instances of minor equipment faults through to full scale system shut downs.

Requiring swift responses, TP Fire & Security places great emphasis on safe and efficient call-outs, ensuring that its staff arrive on site without delays caused by avoidable accidents or incidents linked to harsh driving styles, particularly in difficult driving conditions.

Lightfoot’s ability to encourage smooth, mindful and above all safe driving, was vital to TP Fire & Security, as vehicles involved in even the most minor of accidents delay call-out times dramatically and put the wellbeing of staff at risk.

In addition to lowering the likelihood of accidents that can lead to vehicle downtime, the smoother driving style promoted by Lightfoot’s real time driver guidance and rewards package has led to a 9.8% reduction in emissions.

Commenting on the positive impact that Lightfoot has had on its drivers, Mel Jackson, Health and Safety Manager at TP Fire & Security, said: “Running a fleet of 34 vehicles has its challenges. Keeping track of drivers is the simple element. Tracking driver behaviour is where the serious management of our fleet takes place. 

“The results are excellent. Our driver performance has increased resulting in a 100% reduction in instances of dangerous driving, plus we’ve seen an uplift in mpg by 9.8%. Our team have transformed the way they drive, aided both by the assistance of Lightfoot’s on board dashboard device and its engaging driver rewards package.

“For us, it’s great. Finally, a solution providing immediate and readily available data with the presence of a continual on-board driving coach.”

Mark Roberts, Lightfoot’s Founder and CEO, commented: “TP Fire & Security has a vital role to play in protecting businesses, providing fire protection and detection services that safeguard premises, staff and assets. Having the ability to get on site safely and with certainty is core to their business, which is why Lightfoot’s ability to enhance duty of care to staff on the road proved so attractive.

“Since installing Lightfoot, TP Fire & Security’s drivers have transformed their driving style. Elite Driver numbers have leapt, and instances of dangerous driving have been eradicated. Add to that lower fuel bills, a reduced carbon footprint and enhanced staff wellbeing through the adoption smoother, safer driving, incentivised via a raft of rewards, and it’s a win-win result for all involved.”

Lightfoot’s innovative in-cab driver feedback helps drivers achieve greater efficiency from their vehicles with fuel savings and corresponding emissions reductions of up to 20%. Combined with falls in at fault accidents by up to 40% and wear and tear costs by 45%, Lightfoot brings about multiple benefits to fleets. 

Its pocket-sized dashboard display device uses live engine data to provide real-time visual and audible feedback to drivers, helping fleets improve efficiency and safety one mile at a time. 

Lightfoot also provides drivers with an app, giving users full insight into their performance and score, alongside access to exclusive competitions which drivers can opt in to enter as soon as they achieve Lightfoot’s ‘Elite Driver’ standard; the point at which fleets see the best efficiencies and savings across the board. In addition to the highly popular cash-prize Drivers’ Lottery, drivers can enter competitions for a range of other prizes that serve as an incentive to maintain a smoother driving style.

Considered revolutionary in the fleet management and telematics worlds, Lightfoot’s disruptive approach to reducing accidents has been adopted by some of the largest companies in the market, including Virgin Media, Greencore, and South West Water.

To find out more about how Lightfoot can transform your fleet, visit https://www.lightfoot.co.uk/.

Fleets ‘key to unlocking an electric vehicle revolution’

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UK fleets have the potential to accelerate an electric vehicle (EV) revolution, with a shift to zero tailgate emissions generating fuel cost savings of around 63% across a fleet and significantly boosting the second hand car market.

That’s according to a new report from Cornwall Insight and PwC – “Leading the charge! Fleet charging – a catalyst for the EV revolution”, which says that with 5.3 million vehicles on the UK’s roads, fleets – a group of vehicles owned or leased by businesses – are a vital part of the transport sector. 

As the UK moves towards net zero, fleets could be a major component in this journey by leading the charge in the electric vehicle roll-out – a move that would represent half of the number of EVs expected by 2030.

The decarbonisation of the light vehicle fleet will also have a positive impact on air quality. Research in the report states that if all 5.3 million fleet vehicles were to generate zero emissions as much as 30 million tonnes of CO2 would be eliminated – around 25% of all UK transport emissions.

In evaluating the electrification of the fleet market, the report identifies which segments of the sector will be crucial to leading the EV revolution and outlining a road map that fleets may follow as they electrify.

Key findings of the report:

  • Fleet electrification is a critical catalyst that will enable the EV revolution in the UK.
  • Field services, depot-based logistics and leased corporate car fleets are likely to electrify first.
  • Government policy has a critical role to play in enabling the EV fleet transition.
  • The business models of charge point operators need to incorporate some key principles to be successful.
  • Fleet electrification providers will be an attractive opportunity for institutional investors.
  • If fleets are to maximise the opportunity of electrification, they need to take some critical and preparatory steps in designing their road map.

Not only do fleets constitute a sizeable proportion of the UK’s transport sector, but they are also responsible for more than half of new car registrations (56%) in 2019. So it is easy to see how the electrification of fleets has transformative implications for EVs.

And with a life cycle of between two to four years, fleet electrification has the potential to accelerate growth in the private, second-hand market. As fleets renew their stock, this will not only deliver greater choice and affordability for consumers but will, in turn, act as a catalyst for increased consumer adoption of EVs. Choice and affordability are still one of several barriers to EV update.

However, as the fleet electrifies, this will reinforce the need and underpin the economics of EV charging infrastructure throughout the UK. This will ensure ‘range anxiety’ does not stall the electrification of this vital segment.

On the findings of the report, Daniel Atzori, Research Partner at Cornwall Insight, said” “The electrification of fleets is set to gain momentum, driven both by sustainability commitments and by compelling economic drivers. 

“Fleets are likely to play a crucial role in the upcoming electrification of mobility and therefore in the decarbonisation of transport.

“Since fleets can ensure a high rate of utilisation of charging assets, fleet charging offers a range of interesting investment propositions. Having a clear and well-defined strategy will be crucial for fleet managers, charge point operators and investors looking to achieve leadership in this emerging market.”

Steve Jennings, PwC’s Energy and Utilities leader, said: “As well as demonstrating the appeal for investors, our report also illustrates  how utilities and charge point operators (CPOs) may play a key role in supporting EV fleet adoption, with business models evolving around advisory support to promote charging infrastructure and fine-tune electrification.

“It’s clear that field services, depot-based logistics and leased corporate car fleets have the right characteristics (such as predictable driving and charging patterns) to spearhead EV adoption.

“However pent up demand and rising levels of awareness amongst fleets is not enough to accelerate adoption.Government policy has a critical role to play. As we emerge from the current Covid-19 pandemic, alongside a strong focus on stimulating economic growth, we may see a growing emphasis on sustainability, including regulatory and strategic support for EV charging, to help address emission levels and improve air quality.

“Without policy certainty for all stakeholders across fleets, EV charging providers and investors, there is a risk that the full potential of this burgeoning EV revolution will not be realised.”

University of Bath champions Lightfoot as a game-changer

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The University of Bath’s Chris Brace, Professor of Automotive Propulsion and Director of the Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS), has heralded Lightfoot as a game-changer for modern fleet vehicles, addressing emissions in the real world.

Commenting in an interview, Professor Brace endorsed Lightfoot, saying: “For millions of vehicles on the road, Lightfoot is one of the only ways to reduce the amount of NOx in the real world due to its ability to change driver behaviour in real time.”

Click here to read more.

HOW CAN WE REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS TO ZERO?

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The UK plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 to become the cleanest country in the world. Each year, approximately 500 million tonnes of CO2 are emitted in the UK. Following guidance from the Committee on Climate Change, the government has looked into how it could bring this number down to zero. This move was prompted following the release of a UN report which stated that CO2 emissions must be fully stopped if we are to avoid dangerous climate disruption. 

The UK’s climate minister for the UK, Claire Perry, told BBC News: “The report was a really stark and sober piece of work — a good piece of work. Now we know what the goal is, and we know what some of the levers are.

“But for me, the constant question is: what is the cost and who’s going to bear that, both in the UK and in the global economy. The question is: what does government need to do, where can the private sector come in, and what technologies will come through?”

Here, UK car retailer Vindis highlights how big of a challenge the UK has set itself, by looking at three things that must change across the nation if the target is to be reached…

UK home insulation must be better

BBC News article detailed how the UK must lower its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.  What’s more, a third of those carbon emissions had been recorded from heating draughty buildings across the nation. 

However, one key issue is that 25 million homes will currently fail to meet the insulation standards that will be enforced from 2050. This is according to a report that was sent to Parliament by experts from the Green Building Council — a group of leading construction firms — with the solution being that the affected properties will need to be refurbished to the highest standards. According to calculations, these findings mean that the rate of refurbishment stood at a rate of 1.4 homes needing to be worked on every minute as of the beginning of 2017.

Carrying out this work will be a host of benefits, not just a reduction in carbon emissions, however. The Green Building Council’s head Julie Hirigoyen explains: “People will have warmer homes and lower bills; they will live longer, happier lives; we will be able to address climate change and carbon emissions. We will also be creating many thousands of jobs and exporting our best skills in innovation.”

Fuel-efficient vehicles must be more appealing

To make the UK’s roads cleaner, the UK government has decided to ban the production of petrol and diesel cars throughout the nation starting 2040. While we may be a couple of decades away from seeing this ban come into force, it appears that an increasing number of British motorists are already exploring what’s available when it comes to alternative-fuel vehicles. The number of new registrations for plug-in cars increased from 3,500 units in 2013 to more than 195,000 models at the end of January 2019, reports Next Green Car. Furthermore, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders highlighted that electric car sales across the UK has shifted from only close to 500 being registered each month in the early part of 2014 to an average of 5,000 per month throughout 2018.

Thanks to sustained government and private investment, improvements have been made to the infrastructure to more alternative-fuel vehicles being used on roads across the UK too. While the UK’s network of electric vehicle charging points was recorded in at just a few hundred units as of 2011, there had been more than 5,800 charging locations, 9,800 charging devices and 16,700 connectors installed by June 2018.

It may be a long way off that we see all vehicles on our roads run on alternative fuels. After all, the latest vehicle data from the SMMT has stated that the car registrations market share for January 2019 was 64.08 per cent petrol, 29.08 per cent diesel and 6.84 per cent alternative-fuel vehicles, for example. However, it at least appears that things are moving in the right direction.

Increase the use of low-carbon fuels

If the UK is able to eradicate greenhouse gas emissions, the nation could really benefit from businesses and people using low-carbon fuels more e.g. LPG. On this matter, it seems that quite a few individuals are already providing a helping hand. In figures compiled by Imperial College London and reported on by The Guardian, the capacity of renewable energy in the UK surpassed that of fossil fuels for the first time. With the amount of renewable capacity trebling in the same five-year period that fossil fuels decreased by one-third, the capacity of biomass, hydropower, solar and wind power hit 41.9 gigawatts and the capacity of gas, coal and oil-fired power plants recorded in at 41.2 gigawatts between July and September. 

Research for Imperial College London carried out by Dr Iain Staffell stated: “Britain’s power system is slowly but surely walking away from fossil fuels, and [the quarter between July and September] saw a major milestone on the journey.”

There’s no doubt that the UK faces a huge challenge in its attempt to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Fortunately, some of the examples covered in this article does at least suggest that efforts are being made to ensure the nation reaches its goal.

5.3% of fleet vehicles are Euro 4 or older – Research

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5.3% of company cars and vans being operated by customers of FleetCheck only meet the Euro 4 emissions standard or older.

That’s according to new analysis by FleetCheck, which says further 18.2% of vehicles from the total sample of 85,792 also fall behind the latest Euro 6 legislation by only achieving Euro 5.

Peter Golding, Managing Director at FleetCheck, said: “We compiled these figures to illustrate the disparity that currently exists across fleets when it comes to emissions. While at one extreme, some are actively working to achieve zero emissions, at the other, we can see that almost a quarter of all the vehicles our customers operate are Euro 5 or older.

“Because there is a strong SME bias in our customer base and these businesses tend to hang on to cars and vans for longer than corporates, they are probably worse than the fleet parc as a whole. However, they remain an indication of how far the industry will have to travel to achieve the kind of low or zero emissions performance we’d all like to see.”

Golding added that most of the oldest and most polluting vehicles in the analysis appeared to be diesel vans, many of which were operated on a spare or pool vehicle basis.

“It is not uncommon for smaller businesses to continue to operate vans until they become uneconomic to repair or too unreliable for everyday use. Even some of the latter will be kept in the yard as a spare van and used occasionally. However, there is a strong argument that these vehicles shouldn’t be on the road at all, given their poor emissions.”

Over the next few years, he added, there was a strong possibility that the introduction of Clean Air Zones would start to see more of these vehicles disappear from fleets.

“While CAZs have arguably got off to a slow start, it seems likely that at least some will ultimately move to the ULEZ model and operate a Euro 6 minimum for diesel vehicles,” said Golding. “This is one of the factors that will start to see some of these older vans start to disappear.

“However, well ahead of that point, more could be done to persuade fleets to stop operating these vehicles. That might mean disincentives using measures such as Vehicle Excise Duty or it could mean incentives such as wider use of scrappage schemes.

“On a simpler level, the economics behind the ongoing operation of these older vans are often highly questionable, and getting this message across to businesses is also something that we perhaps should be communicating more widely as an industry.”

Birmingham ponders city centre driving ban

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Birmingham City Council has published a draft Birmingham Transport Plan that contains a set of principles to guide future investment in transport designed to reduce transport’s impact on the environment, supporting the city’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The council also says the plans will make roads safer, connecting people with new job and training opportunities, prioritising people over cars and revitalising the city centre and local centres.

The document sets out four ‘big moves’, specifically:-

  • Reallocating road space. Moving away from single occupancy private cars to support the delivery of a public transport system fit for a global city, fundamentally changing the way that people and goods move about the city.
  • Transforming the city centre. This would be through the creation of a network of pedestrian streets and public spaces integrated with public transport services and cycling infrastructure. Access to the city centre for private cars will be limited with no through trips. This includes looking at different options for the central section of the A38 including re-routing it to an upgraded ring road.
  • Prioritising active travel in local neighbourhoods. Walking and cycling will become people’s preferred mode for travelling around their locality. Cars will no longer dominate street life around homes and schools, a limit of 20mph will be standard on all local roads and residential neighbourhoods and local centres will be places where people are put first.
  • Managing demand through parking measures. Parking will be used as a means to manage demand for travel by car through availability, pricing and restrictions. Where development potential exists, land currently occupied by car parking will be put to more productive use.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “As a city, we have been over-reliant on private cars for too long and with more people choosing to live and work in Birmingham, we need to find innovative new ways to keep the city moving in an efficient but sustainable way.

“The more journeys we take by walking and cycling, the more we will improve air quality and our health and the more we will reduce congestion. For longer journeys, buses, trams and trains will be the backbone of a new, go-anywhere transport system.

“Good transport is the most important ingredient in ensuring that the benefits of Birmingham’s growth are felt in every part of the city. To unlock the potential of transport, we need to fundamentally change the way people and goods move around the city.

“Birmingham has already started to redress the balance and build a future in which the car will no longer be king. The introduction of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone will reinforce our commitment to establish a zero emissions city. On the ground, we have started to put things right through investments in projects including the city’s first fully segregated cycle ways, extensions to the Metro tram network and introduction of 20mph speed limits on residential streets.

“The Birmingham Transport Plan, once adopted, will continue to build on these strong foundations, future-proofing our transport system and ensuring that we are able to move around our city in a faster, more efficient way with cleaner air and less congestion.”

Subject to Cabinet approval on 21 January, the draft plan will then go out to public consultation from 28 January, before a final version is formally adopted by the council.

Image by Tims Talib from Pixabay 

2020 is ‘make or break’ for diesel

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2020 could turn out to be a “make or break” year for diesel – with the fuel facing further demonisation just as new emissions standards delivering real benefits become more widely available.
 
Peter Golding, managing director at fleet management software specialist FleetCheck, said: “We seem to have arrived at a point in time where, in terms of public perception, any nuance surrounding the diesel debate has disappeared almost completely.
 
“Probably the best example of this is the blanket diesel ban that is going to be applied in Bristol city centre. Older petrol cars that probably have markedly worse emissions than the latest RDE2 diesels will be allowed in. 
 
“It makes little sense and helps to create the impression that whatever technological advances are now made with diesel, its ongoing demonisation might be inevitable.”
 
Golding said that the general reaction to the introduction of RDE2 could potentially set the tone for how diesel is perceived in the future.
 
“RDE2 effectively puts diesel on a roughly equal footing with petrol from an emissions point of view. The question is whether everyone from legislators to the general public are willing or able to make that distinction.
 
“In a sense, the next 12 months could prove to be something of a make or break period for diesel. If its reputation doesn’t make something of a recovery with the new technology coming online, then it may never do so.
 
“This would be disappointing because, in many cases and especially for high mileage drivers, it remains the best option. Diesel may end up disappearing from choice lists for reasons of perception rather than actual fact.
 
“The situation is even more acute on commercial vehicle fleets where diesel is effectively the only option in many, many cases, with limited availability of petrol alternatives and almost no hybrid or electric options.”
 
Golding added that a general perception of diesel as the supposed source of all emissions ills also risked creating air quality outcomes that were ultimately unsatisfactory.
 
“One of the reasons that we are in the current position is because legislators long concentrated on CO2 emissions to the detriment of other environmental measures. Obsessing over diesel risks taking a similarly narrow view with similar results.
 
“Air quality is obviously a major concern and ensuring that sensible measures are taken that make sense and bring about real change is too important not to be taken seriously. That means taking a wider view on environmental matters.”

SEAT’s e-Scooter plans look to slash running costs

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Spanish motoring firm SEAT has unveiled its first e-Scooter concept in response to the growing demand for zero emissions, with the vehicle producing running costs of just £1 per week for the average motorcyclist. 

The e-Scooter was unveiled in Barcelona in a partnership with Silence, and will enter full production next year.

Power is from a 11kW motor, which is equivalent to a 125cc petrol engine, and gives it a 0-31mph (50kph) time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 62mph (100kph).

The motorcycle has a range of 71 miles between charges and will typically cost just 60-70p to fully charge.

And with the average British motorcyclist riding approximately 5,000 miles per year, the e-Scooter would cost them around £1 per week in electricity if the production model is eventually sold in the UK.

SEAT’s new motorcycle is the Spanish firm’s latest response to urban motoring and follows this month’s launch of the Mii Electric, its first ever zero emission car.

The firm is yet to confirm if the electric bike will be sold in the UK, which is one of Europe’s largest market for motorcycles, with more than 1.1 million bikes registered.

Lucas Casasnovas, head of urban mobility at SEAT, said: “We aim to become an ally for cities and the SEAT e-Scooter concept is the answer to public demand for a more agile mobility.

“Our collaboration with Silence is an example of how cooperation between partners enables us to be more efficient.”

The e-Scooter concept has been developed for all motorcyclists but is geared more towards ‘motosharing’.

It is fitted with two USB input sockets and a place to hold a mobile phone.

A phone app can monitor where the bike is located and track its battery usage and the battery is easily removed from the bike and charged inside.

Joan Melenchon, a designer at SEAT, said: “We mostly wanted it to be a vehicle that is straightforward, iconic and practical.

“We steered away from making a visually minimalist package, concentrating instead on its pared down utility.”

SEAT is spearheading the Volkswagen Group’s ‘micromobility’ strategy and has also built a 100 per cent electric quadricycle called Minimo.

How can fleets help cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero?

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The UK government has an ambition to, by the year 2050, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero.  If this target is met then it could see the UK hailed as the globe’s cleanest country.

As of October 2018, around 500 million tonnes of CO2 were being emitted throughout the nation on an annual basis. Guidance from the Committee on Climate Change has been formally sought by the government about how and when the UK could bring this number down to zero though, with the move prompted from the release of a UN report which warned that CO2 emissions must be entirely stopped if dangerous climate disruption is to be avoided.

Claire Perry, the UK’s climate minister, pointed out to BBC News: “The report was a really stark and sober piece of work — a good piece of work. Now we know what the goal is, and we know what some of the levers are.

“But for me, the constant question is: what is the cost and who’s going to bear that, both in the UK and in the global economy. The question is: what does government need to do, where can the private sector come in, and what technologies will come through?”   

In this article, Vindis, a VW dealership, has showcased the scale of this challenge, by detailing just some of the things that will need to change across the nation to hit the target…

Opt for fuel-efficient vehicles

The UK government has already acted to try and make our roads cleaner, by announcing that new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned across the nation from 2040. 

While we may be a couple of decades away from seeing this ban come into force, it appears that an increasing number of British motorists are already exploring what’s available when it comes to alternative-fuel vehicles e.g. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) powered vehicles. 

In fact, Next Green Car has reported that the number of new registrations of plug-in cars jumped from just 3,500 in 2013 to over 195,000 as of the end of January 2019. Furthermore, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders highlighted that electric car sales across the UK has shifted from only close to 500 being registered each month in the early part of 2014 to an average of 5,000 per month throughout 2018.

The infrastructure in place to handle more alternative-fuel vehicles being on British roads is certainly improving as well, thanks to both sustained government and private investment. While the UK’s network of electric vehicle charging points was recorded in at just a few hundred units as of 2011, there had been more than 5,800 charging locations, 9,800 charging devices and 16,700 connectors installed by June 2018.

We may still be quite a while away from seeing all vehicles on the roads of the UK being run on alternative fuels — the latest vehicle data from the SMMT stated that the car registrations market share for January 2019 was 64.08 per cent petrol, 29.08 per cent diesel and 6.84 per cent alternative-fuel vehicles, for example — but it appears that things are at least moving in the right direction.

Start using low-carbon fuels more

Another helping hand that the UK could benefit from if it is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero is for more people and businesses to start using more low-carbon fuels. It appears the nation is already assisting in this area.

In figures compiled by Imperial College London and reported on by The Guardian, the capacity of renewable energy in the UK surpassed that of fossil fuels for the first time. With the amount of renewable capacity trebling in the same five-year period that fossil fuels decreased by one-third, the capacity of biomass, hydropower, solar and wind power hit 41.9 gigawatts and the capacity of gas, coal and oil-fired power plants recorded in at 41.2 gigawatts between July and September. 

Dr Iain Staffell carried out the research for Imperial College London, pointing out: “Britain’s power system is slowly but surely walking away from fossil fuels, and [the quarter between July and September] saw a major milestone on the journey.”

Earlier in 2018, a record was also set in that the UK managed to be powered without coal for three days in a row (the official time stood at 76 consecutive hours). This was before a report from Imperial College London which was commissioned by Drax suggested that coal supplied only 1.3 per cent of Britain’s entire use of electricity during the second quarter of 2018 — furnaces based at coal-fired power stations throughout the country were completely unused for 12 days in June last year too.

Better insulate homes

According to a BBC News article from February 2017, the UK was needing to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent between the date that the piece was published and 2050. What’s more, a third of those carbon emissions had been recorded from heating draughty buildings across the nation. 

However, experts from the Green Building Council — a group of leading construction firms — stated in a report sent to Parliament that 25 million existing homes will not currently meet the insulation standards being enforced in the mid-century and will need to be refurbished to the highest standards. According to calculations, these findings mean that the rate of refurbishment stood at a rate of 1.4 homes needing to be worked on every minute as of the beginning of 2017.

There are many benefits, other than just cutting carbon emissions, to conducting this work. The Green Building Council’s head Julie Hirigoyen explains: “People will have warmer homes and lower bills; they will live longer, happier lives; we will be able to address climate change and carbon emissions.

“We will also be creating many thousands of jobs and exporting our best skills in innovation.”

The UK’s ambition to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 definitely does sound like a challenge. Fortunately, some of the examples covered in this article does at least suggest that efforts are being made to ensure the nation reaches its goal.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45856377

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/target-zero-uk-aims-to-cut-all-emissions-by-2050-bddfcwmd6

https://www.nextgreencar.com/electric-cars/statistics/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/06/uk-renewable-energy-capacity-surpasses-fossil-fuels-for-first-time

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/24/uk-power-generation-coal-free-gas-renewables-nuclear

https://www.newstatesman.com/spotlight/energy/2018/08/coal-supplied-just-one-cent-britains-electricity-summer

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/scottish-power-wind-energy-renewable-drax-gas-station-climate-change-a8585961.html

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661933/tsgb-2017-report-summaries.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/apr/26/carpooling-commuting-car-share-liftshare-uber

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