Cross River Partnership: working to improve air quality in the city


Cross River Partnership is a public-private partnership operating in central London. CRP has been delivering regeneration projects in London since 1994, working to support sustainable growth across the capital by developing and delivering innovative pilot projects both with and for their partners. Cross River Partnership is an alliance of Business Improvement Districts, local authorities and public service providers such as Transport for London and the Greater London Authority.

CRP has four main overall objectives, one of with is the improvement of air quality. The others include sustainable employment opportunities, economic growth and prosperity, and making places that work.

CRP has various on-going projects to improve air quality within cities, such as the implementation of clean air walking routes in a bid to promote walking with minimal air pollution. Other projects include DeliverBEST and Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe (FREVUE), both of which tackle issues of pollution due to logistics.

Cutting London’s air pollution with deliverBEST

Cross River Partnership believe that improving air quality and reducing the economic and health implications of air pollution is a priority. Therefore, adhering to this goal, an online resource and business engagement programme has been developed to support central London businesses and help to make their delivery and servicing more efficient through procurement: deliverBEST.

“Air pollution costs the UK economy £20 billion a year and contributes to the early death of 9,400 Londoners each year. Half of this pollution is attributed to road transport”, says Brendon Harper, Air Quality Project Manager, Cross River Partnership.

“deliverBEST is has been developed through the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund-supported Clean Air Better Business programme and European Regional Development Fund-supported programme, Freight TAILS,” says Harper. He explains that the “programme shares practical, proven solutions that make deliveries to businesses more efficient. Solutions save businesses time and money while reducing the number of vans on streets and improving local air quality.”

DeliverBEST provides businesses with recommendations to define which aspects of their organisation could benefit from reducing costs after the completion of a quick 60 second questionnaire. The recommendations relate to waste and recycling, procurement, fleet and staff behaviour change, suggesting “ways that businesses can reduce their deliveries through small changes in procurement practices.  For example, reducing daily orders to weekly, sharing suppliers with your neighbours and reducing staff personal deliveries,” says Harper. After engaging with the deliverBEST tool, businesses are the able to discuss how to implement the recommended changes with business leaders in peer to peer workshops. The “outcomes from previous workshops have included how to achieve costs savings through joint procurement, a new waste and recycling approach among others,” adds Harper.

“Cross River Partnership is promoting the deliverBEST tool to businesses through our partners, such as Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).  Central London BIDs are working with their business members to improve local air quality, and ready to use solutions like deliverBEST are key to helping businesses to reduce their impact on local air quality.

Support for many businesses is free thanks to funding from the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund, Defra’s Air Quality Grant and CRP’s BID partners,” says Harper.


FREVUE: Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe results overview

The Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe project consisted of the deployment of 80 fully electric freight vehicles (EFVs) across eight European cities. The vehicles used in the trial ranged from small car-derived vans of under 3.5 tonnes to trucks of 18 tonnes.

The vehicles “were exposed to the day to day rigors of the urban logistics environment comparing performance of freight electric vehicles across wildly differing topography and climates,” says Dalle-Muenchmeyer, FREVUE Programme Manager at Cross River Partnership. For example, Mediterranean versus Scandinavian, which allowed to test the impacts on battery life of vehicle air conditioning and heating systems, as well as much more. The project also included difference industry sectors such a frozen goods, temperature controlled pharmaceuticals, food and drink, as well as post and parcel.

The FREVUE project came to an end this September 2017, following four and a half years of EU-funded demonstration, research and analysis. Cross River Partnership (CRP) and Westminster City Council worked to co-ordinate “the overall FREVUE consortium comprised of 32 local and European partners from both the public and private sectors concentrated around the cities of Amsterdam, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Milan, Oslo, Rotterdam and Stockholm,” says Dalle-Muenchmeyer.

The project is demonstrative of the success of EFVs in city logistics operations across more than 15 companies. “The results show that EFVs are well suited to inner city freight and the range of vehicles currently available on the market is sufficient for most operations,” notes Dalle-Muenchmeyer. She adds that the results work to show “the freight industry, policy makers, electricity network operators and ICT providers that electric freight vehicles are viable alternatives to their diesel equivalents with the potential to play a significant role in addressing local air pollution and CO2 emissions”.

During the project, it was observed that there was a significant shift in attitude of fleet and depot managers, as well as drivers, towards EFVs.  “The longer they work with EFVs, the more confident and positive they are towards adapting to the vehicles’ requirements, including their range,” says Dalle-Muenchmeyer. It was also noted that the drivers enjoyed the quietness, simple operation and instant power of the EFVs. “The maintenance of EFVs is much simpler than for internal combustion engines (ICEs) due to the reduced number of moving parts and most of the FREVUE vehicles have proven to be very reliable,” observes Dalle-Muenchmeyer. Most companies have made further investments in expanding their electric fleet after their positive experience in the trailing fully electric vans and trucks.

“The FREVUE environmental impact analysis shows that the electrification of these vehicles alone has generated total greenhouse gas savings of up to 176-190 tonnes of CO2e.  The total environmental greenhouse gas reduction of the FREVUE project itself is approximately 45%. Additionally, the analysis shows a saving of up to 2.1 tonnes of NOx, and 72 kg of particulate matter (PM10),” explains Dalle-Muenchmeyer.

Therefore, “extrapolating these results shows that if, in 2021, 10% of the entire London freight fleet were electric, we would see savings of 207,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, 402 tonnes NOx gases and 3.8 tonnes of particulate matter (PM10). The monetary savings of this 10% uptake of EFVs in London alone through reduced health impacts and lower abatement costs would amount to a staggering €1 billion in 2021,” concludes Dalle-Muenchmeyer.