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Lambeth is helping local businesses cut CO2 emissions from supply chains

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As part of a wider strategy to improve the air quality in one of the most polluted areas of the UK, Lambeth LBC is working in partnership with Wandsworth, Southwark and Croydon LBCs to improve air quality by reducing the number of delivery vehicles travelling into each borough.

  • Project: Low Emission Logistics
  • Objectives: To improve air quality by reducing delivery vehicles travelling into London
  • Timescale: Initially one year, possibly extending to three dependent on funding
  • Cost to authority: £100,000 between four boroughs
  • Number of staff working on project: Two
  • Outcomes: Reduced vehicle movements, emissions and congestion, cost savings through shared procurement, improved public realm

In addition to reviewing its own purchasing and delivery behaviour, Lambeth is supporting local businesses to take action to reduce deliveries through their own supply chains but also identify cost savings through joint procurement.

Andrew Round, sustainability manager, Lambeth LBC

Andrew Round: Lambeth is helping local businesses cut CO2 emissions from supply chains

Andrew Round

Public health experts estimate 9,500 people in London die prematurely each year due to exposure to poor air quality. At high levels, pollutants can cause health problems, particularly to people who suffer from lung and heart conditions. Approximately 50% of emissions across London are from road traffic and almost 20% of these come from vans and trucks.

Our statutory obligations on air quality were set out in the Environment Act 1995, which requires councils to review air quality in their areas against objectives established in the National Air Quality Strategy. It also requires councils to designate local air quality management areas covering localities where improvements are necessary, and product an air quality action plan.

So whilst the responsibility for improving air quality falls to councils, the majority of emissions are often from sources over which the local authority has little or no control.

It was therefore essential for us to work with the private sector to influence behavioural changes that will lead to environmental improvements.

Lambeth engaged with businesses via door-to-door surveys and identified organisations in each part of the borough that separately receive daily deliveries of certain products from different suppliers. Lambeth’s low emission logistics team analysed data collected from businesses to find opportunities for reducing the number of these deliveries. The council introduced businesses that purchase the same items to one another to encourage them to use the same supplier and share deliveries, reducing the number of vehicles travelling into the same area. The creation of a network of businesses that are able to jointly procure goods and services offers local firms greater purchasing power.

By helping local businesses to reduce their costs, we were able to create a financially sustainable way of improving air quality. The reduction in the number of vehicles frequenting a high street also provided additional benefits for road safety and an overall improved public realm, which can lead to increased footfall thanks to a more pleasant experience for shoppers.

This is a three-year project funded through the second round of the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund. During the second year, the business engagement work will use an area-based approach to get commitment from all stakeholders in a selected area to commit to taking further actions that will reduce vehicle movements and enhance the public realm.

We have drafted Lambeth’s air quality action plan for 2017 to 2022 and it is out for consultation until mid-November.

The plan contains a list of proposed measures and actions that we will take to improve air quality. As well as the low emission logistics project, we are looking at ways to increase awareness about air quality including anti-idling initiatives, reducing emissions from development sites in the borough, tackling the high emissions from our own vehicle fleet, improving local neighbourhood environments to reduce pollution and encourage walking and cycling around the borough as much as possible.

Andrew Round, sustainability manager, Lambeth LBC


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