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Open Letter to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

To: Mr. Sadiq Kahn, The Right Worshipful Mayor of London,

Your Excellency,


A PROPOSAL TO REDUCE VEHICLE EMISSIONS IN LONDON


Mr. Mayor, under your leadership, London has made great strides to reduce vehicle emissions and you deserve every accolade you’ve received for your efforts in this regard.

There is always the opportunity to do more however, as the air quality problem in the UK’s major cities won’t be solved by one, two, or even three programmes or directives — such is the scale of the problem that has enveloped the City since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Therefore, please consider this proposal as a complementary and/or alternative solution to your innovative and existing vehicle emissions and congestion charges legislation.


I PROPOSE STICKERS FOR CARS AND TRUCKS BASED ON FUEL TYPE AND DAILY USE IN LONDON

Drivers who opt for ‘the cleanest fuel type’ will be rewarded with ‘lower daily use charges’ while those choosing high-polluting vehicles would pay comparatively more.

For example:

  1. Electric Vehicles (EV) travelling in the City of London would be required to place a GREEN coloured sticker inside the front windscreen — and EV’s would be charged £10. per day (via sticker ID number/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.
  2. Hybrid-Electric Vehicles (PHEV & HEV) travelling in the City of London would be required to place a BLUE coloured sticker inside the front windscreen — and such a vehicle would be charged £20. per day (via sticker ID number/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.
  3. Petrol Vehicles (ICE) travelling in the City of London would be required to place a RED coloured sticker inside the front windscreen — and ICE vehicles would be charged £30. per day (via sticker ID number/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.
  4. Diesel Vehicles (ICED) travelling in the City of London would be required to place a YELLOW coloured sticker inside the front windscreen — and ICED vehicles would be charged £40. per day (via sticker ID number/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.
  5. Vehicles not registered with the City of London would pay £50. per day (via licence plate/OCR street camera) for each day it is driven in the city. On days where the vehicle isn’t driving in the city, no charge would occur.

And those people who choose to leave their cars at home on any given day (possibly choosing to take public transit or carpool with friends/co-workers) or walk to their destination, etc., would save themselves a significant amount of money annually.


(1) Rewarding Drivers Who Choose Less Polluting Vehicles & (2) Lowering the Aggregate Miles Driven Annually on London Streets Will (3) Result in Cleaner Air & Less Congestion in the City of London

While I have no studies to prove my assertions, I believe the financial situation of every driver who drives in the City of London will prompt their choice of vehicle and allow them to self-regulate their decision to drive, walk, or take public transit to their destinations.

Consequently, this programme would help drivers who use London’s road network switch more quickly to less polluting cars and trucks, and may find themselves choosing to walk or take public transit more often to their destinations. While this may not be true in every case, I imagine that it will be true for many Londoners and those who travel through the City of London.

Perhaps a poll could be arranged to ask drivers;

‘Would you like to ‘pay more per day’ to continue driving your polluting vehicle on London streets, or would you like to ‘save money by switching’ to a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation?’


NOTES:

  • I feel that taxicabs should be exempt from these fees.
  • I feel that government fleets should be exempt from these fees.
  • I feel that car rental companies should be exempt from these fees.
  • I feel that buses operated by any person or company should be exempt from these fees.
  • Transport companies (trucking firms) could receive a discount for monthly or annual prepayment.
  • Exempt all vehicles between 12:00am–6:00am to encourage driving during the least-busy hours of the day.
  • A link on the City of London website could allow drivers to register their vehicle and have their stickers mailed to them.

Conclusion

In closing, your excellency, I hope that in this way the City of London could serve as a template for UK metropolitan areas with a population of one million or more.

Further, I wish to thank you for your diligent efforts to solve the longstanding and challenging air quality problem in London, and for allowing me the gift of your valuable time to read this well-meant proposal.

Kindest regards,

John Brian Shannon
Publisher of LetterToBritain.com

Thumbnail image courtesy of: EconomicTimesIndiaTimes.com

Royal Mail takes delivery of electric trucks

by John Brian Shannon

The Royal Mail is testing electric delivery vehicles to replace their 49,000 vehicle fleet with an eye towards lowering annual maintenance and fuel bills, and to help improve air quality in UK cities.

Royal Mail electric trucks made by Arrival
Ranking 1000+ on the cuteness scale, these 3.5 tonne Royal Mail electric delivery trucks made by Arrival have a 100-mile range and feature zero emissions and no noise. Image courtesy of Royal Mail.

Royal Mail is testing-out a range of electric delivery vehicles to complement and eventually replace their 49,000 vehicle fleet. The smallest of these vans is pictured above with three (of the one-hundred on order) already delivering packages from the Mount Pleasant Mail Centre in London.

The new trucks come in three different payload ratings and the larger trucks are scheduled to begin operations later this year.

Royal Mail 6-tonne van presently undergoing trials in London
Arrival’s 6-tonne electric van at the Banbury, Oxfordshire assembly plant which is presently undergoing trials in London. Image courtesy of Royal Mail.

Three 3.5 tonne electric trucks, three 6 tonne, and three 7.5 tonne electric trucks will be tested in 2017.

“Royal Mail is delighted to be collaborating with Arrival and pioneering the adoption of large electric commercial vehicles. We are pleased to be the first fleet operator to take delivery of and trial these new larger payload vehicles which will complement the 100 electric vans we recently ordered. We will be putting them through their paces over the next several months to see how they cope with the mail collection demands from our larger sites.”

“Royal Mail is trialling a variety of vehicles to see which work best for us and are keen to share our experience with other fleet operators who may be considering introducing electric vehicles. We have trialled electric trucks before but not of this type of design and look forward to see what additional benefits they can bring to our existing fleet of around 49,000 vehicles.” — Paul Gatti, Royal Mail Fleet’s managing director

In congested and heavily polluted cities like London, switching from loud and smelly diesel-engined trucks to electric trucks can contribute to better air quality, as most of the fine particulate and soot found in city air is caused by diesel vehicle emissions.

“We are thrilled to partner with Royal Mail using our electric vehicles. Cities like London will benefit hugely from a switch to electric, in terms of both pollution and noise. Most importantly we are priced the same as diesel trucks removing the main barrier to go electric.” — Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Arrival

Formerly known as Charge Automotive, Arrival’s new 110,000 sq ft factory is located in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Arrival says the trucks are built using, “revolutionary ultra-lightweight composite materials that significantly reduce the weight of the vehicle and by combining this technology with Arrival’s custom built hardware, including power electronics and motors, the cost of operating has been reduced by more than 50%.”

The company also says it’s pursuing autonomous driving technology and that the new trucks are ‘autonomous-ready’.


This follows an announcement by the Royal Mail in July that they’ve also purchased 100 Partner electric minivans (made by Peugeot) for use on regular delivery rounds.

Peugeot Partner electric minivan delivers the Royal Mail.
Peugeot Partner electric minivan delivers the mail. Image courtesy of the Royal Mail.

But what’s the real story here?

The real story is that 49,000 Royal Mail vehicles are going to need replacement within the next ten years. And not only the mail service, but hundreds of thousands of ambulances, courier company vehicles and private companies that haul their own freight will need replacement vehicles within ten years — and all of them could be built at the Arrival plant in Oxfordshire.

To say nothing of the number of delivery vehicles that will need replacement within ten years in every Commonwealth nation and throughout the rest of the world.

As much as I’m a fan of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van (and they are a great vehicle by any standard) these new Arrival vans come without a clattering and smelly diesel engine. And in today’s congested and polluted cities, that’s everything.

If Arrival plays its hand properly, it will become the Apple or TESLA success story of the decade.