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Each year hundreds of businesses up and down the country deliver the last, first or only mile of their service by cargo bike. Cargo bike operators have proven this to be a time efficient, and cost-effective way to deliver to consumers. However, there remains a large issue of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) deliveries entering our city centres, negatively impacting air quality, road safety and damaging road surfaces. The solution to this issue?

Micro consolidation centres. These centres can allow smooth integration between HGV deliveries and more environmentally and socially sustainable first and last mile delivery methods, by using cargo bikes.

In May 2019 MP Smarter Travel partnered with Islington Council, in conjunction with Archway Town Centre Group, in a TfL-supported cargo bike project to:

  1. Encourage businesses to use local cargo bike operator, Pedivan, for their deliveries; and
  2. Guide eligible local businesses to occupy one of five spaces within the newly established Archway micro-consolidation centre.

 

Aim of the Project

At the core of Archway Town Centre is Navigator Square, which had recently been redeveloped and semi-pedestrianised in 2017 and 2018. As part of the area’s redevelopment, new cycle lanes had been introduced to encourage more active travel.

In a bid to help reduce air pollution and take full advantage of new cycle infrastructure, the square was identified as a prime location for a new micro consolidation centre where couriers, such as Pedivan, could collect deliveries easily and safely. The chosen site was able to accommodate HGVs, had good access to major arterial roads but was also in cycling distance of Islington’s key high streets.

In addition to the consolidation centre, the project worked to maximise the number of cargo bike deliveries happening in the Archway area. Businesses were offered £250 each towards using Pedivan’s service. The subsidy helped nudge businesses into action and helped to cover any admin time required to change supplier.

 

The Process

Business listing and ranking

Through area walks and desk-based research, MP Smarter Travel compiled a list of businesses in the Archway area. Based on business type, size, location and experience from hundreds of business engagements, our consultants ranked each business for their propensity to use cargo bikes. Businesses were then engaged in ranked order.

Our consultants also compiled a list of engaged businesses that expressed an interest in using the micro-consolidation centre. Based on distance from the site, expected regularity of use, product type and volume of produce, five businesses were selected to trial the new Archway consolidation centre.

 

Business engagement

MP Smarter Travel specialise in engaging businesses en-masse, guiding each target business to adopting sustainable transport. In Archway, MP Smarter Travel consultants visited local businesses to understand their needs and promote cargo bike alternatives to their existing diesel/petrol courier trips. With the offer of a subsidy and all the info they needed, businesses were introduced to using Pedivan’s cargo bikes instead of existing diesel/petrol vehicles.

The consolidation centre’s five cages were allocated to specific businesses. Our consultants explained the advantages and method to using the centre. Businesses then began ordering large deliveries to arrive at the centre, storing the consignment on-site and using Pedivan’s zero-emission cargo bikes to deliver stock when needed.

 

Conclusion

MP Smarter Travel’s team engaged over 275 businesses throughout the project. Of these, 28 businesses signed up to using cargo bikes, with an additional 38 businesses expressing a strong interest in joining the project, but with not enough time to see them convert.

All five of the spaces within the consolidation centre were successfully allocated to businesses that continued to use the space for the duration of the project.

Absolute Print, a local graphics and printing business, found the use of cargo bikes hugely advantageous. By the end of the project (February 2020), the business was completing 4-5 weekly Pedivan deliveries, replacing a predicted 2,000 petrol/diesel vehicle miles since June 2019.

By February 2020, The Toy Project, another Archway business, was also saving £140 and 30 hours of staff time per month.

 

“We are using it all the time! Means that the van is off the street and I have more hours in a week. Also making our deliveries and collections [is] so easy and SO carbon free!"

Jane Garfield, Founder and Director - The Toy Project

 

Pedivan started the project period with three cargo bikes. Having received new customers through the Cleaner Deliveries, Smarter Business project, Pedivan was able to purchase new bikes and expand their operation. Pedivan now have 17 cargo bikes, with each bike substituting deliveries that likely would have been completed by diesel/petrol vehicles.

 

As part of the Bikes for Business project with Team London Bridge, we work with an array of cargo bike operators with a proven track record of service, who pick-up and deliver right across the capital.

This month, we spoke with Findlay Fyfe, Head of Operations, at Mango Logistics, a sustainable delivery, storage and fulfilment one-stop-shop based in London. As one of our largest cargo bike operators for Bikes for Business, you may have already seen their white and green cargo bikes cycling on the road already. Read on to find out who Mango Logistics are and what they do.

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What do Mango Logistics do?

We’ve been around for around 20 years in one form or another, doing deliveries across London. Our entire owned fleet including both bikes and vans, are fully electric.

Our core part of the business is warehousing and fulfilment. Most cargo bike operators only do deliveries, but we have multiple warehouses where we store items and as orders come in, we package them and send them out for delivery. Our deliveries are mainly B2B (business-to-business), with the majority of stock held in our own storage facilities. A lot of the items that we store are wholesale coffee and tea as well as premium food products like caviar. We also store and deliver IT and cabling equipment.

At the moment, our deliveries are all within London, however, we’ll soon be opening a new warehouse and fulfilment centre outside of the capital so we can do national deliveries, which means expanding our cargo bike fleet.

 

Which bikes do you use?

We use the Urban Arrow XL which has a 300-litre box. That size of box can carry around nine large food trays or up to 12 A4 boxes. Essentially, our bikes can carry anything that would normally go in a van. For larger items, we use the Urban Arrow Tender that has a 1000 litre box, it’s incredibly big and still gets through traffic just as easily as a regular cargo bike. For any deliveries over a longer distance, we give each of our courier’s back-up batteries to keep them going.

We also work with B2C (business-to-consumer) firms and do ‘multi-drops’ as the items are smaller and we can deliver a lot of items really quickly and efficiently this way. Multi-drops are typically only done in central London, and only for small items.

 

What are the most unusual or largest items you’ve transported?

As our focus is business-to-business deliveries, we don’t tend to transport anything unusual, for us it’s the volume of products that we transport. Having said that, a lot of people don’t realise that computers or electrical equipment could even be delivered by bike!

 

What advice would you give to businesses who are unsure of using cargo bikes?

If you’re looking to buy a cargo bike, see if there’s a government grant or scheme that you can take part in, you won’t be able to claim the full cost of the bike, but you can get subsidies towards one. These types of grants are becoming more and more common. For example, the Energy Saving Trust announced a grant earlier this year which proved to be really popular. If you don’t get the chance to apply now, keep a look out for new grants as they’ll keep coming around.

When it comes to buying your own bike, buy a quality bike over a cheap one. Cargo bikes can take a battering on the road, particularly if they’re used a lot, so you need to make sure that you have one that is reliable. You may think you’re saving money by buying a cheaper bike, but you’ll spend more in the long run repairing and maintaining it.

If you decide to use an operator, first check where they deliver to first. Most operators, including us, will have a defined area of where they pick-up and deliver items, which is one of the reasons why cargo bike operators can be a more competitive option price-wise. Find out what they can and can’t deliver, generally all cargo bikes are pretty big, so it’s not an issue, but it’s always worth asking the question.

 

Contact

Find out more about Mango Logistics by visiting their website. If you’re a business based in SE1, SE16 or SE17, or make frequent deliveries in the area, contact Leigh Gravenor at leigh.gravenor@mpsmartertravel.co.uk, or on 0207 960 2553.

Alternatively, if you work at a local council and looking to implement a cargo bike project in your area, or would like to discuss any of our other sustainable transport services, contact Oli Ivens at oli.ivens@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or call 0207 960 2553.

At MP Smarter Travel we believe in preparing the next generation to make informed decisions that protect our natural environment and minimise our current impact. To date, we have worked with schools and local councils across London engaging students through citizen science experiments, providing fun and engaging educational workshops and student-led film production.

MP Smarter Travel's Breathe Clean programme is designed to educate children and young people about air pollution, foster new sustainable travel behaviours, and identify new ways to minimise air pollution. This programme has previously been delivered in Newham, Brent and Lambeth, and most recently in Westminster.

 

Fun Fact

The Breathe Clean project has been run in four London boroughs, with workshops held 116 schools to an estimated 17,400 students. Through Breathe Clean, students have helped our consultants install 3,067 diffusion tubes across London.

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How Breathe Clean Works

Prior to February 2020, we taught our Breathe Clean programmes in assemblies face-to-face, making them engaging and interactive as possible for students. When lockdown was announced in early 2020, we switched our programmes and activities to online, retaining the interactive aspects of the assembly while protecting students, staff and our team.

The programme is conducted with two assemblies in each school. The first assembly educates students about the sources and impacts of air pollution. When we hold these assemblies in person, we ask for five or six student volunteers to help our consultants install diffusion tubes across the school’s campus. These diffusion tubes measure the air quality in the school grounds, these are collected four weeks after installation for analysis.

We then return six weeks later to conduct the second assembly. Here we share the results we garnered from the diffusion tubes and what these results mean and discuss different solutions to air pollution. Students come together to discuss why they think air quality changes across the school campus and how it can be improved.

Whether in person or online, we send out activity and resource packs for students and staff on how to maintain and improve air quality in and around schools. This resource packs also relate to the school’s travel plan, and how Breathe Clean activities can contribute to the next level of TfL STARS accreditation.

Our Breathe Clean packs include:

  • a bespoke presentation
  • notes to support the presentation delivery
  • measures that a school can implement to reduce air pollution on campus

 

"The children enjoyed [the assembly] immensely and were informed and encouraged in equal measure. I overheard year 6 pupils talking about it later in the day as we crossed the playground - so it definitely made an impact! The Zoom format worked incredibly well and it was made extra special by the inclusion of our act of collective worship at the end." 

St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary School

Contact

If you'd like MP Smarter Travel to hold Breathe Clean workshops at schools in your area, contact us today by emailing info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or calling 0207 960 2553.

 

Since Bikes for Business launched in June this year, we’ve had an amazing response from businesses based in, or who deliver to, SE1, SE16 and SE17 (known as the ‘Low Line’), looking to make their deliveries more environmentally friendly by using cargo bikes. From florists to private equity firms and from retailers to coffee companies, businesses have been reaching out to get involved.

 

What’s Bikes for Business?

If you’ve not heard of the project, here’s a recap. Led by Team London Bridge, Bikes for Business is funded by Impact on Urban Health, in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust. Bikes for Business is offering up to £700 in subsidies for businesses to use a cargo bike service, or purchase/lease their own cargo bike to help reduce their impact on the environment.

With around 2,400 businesses operating in and around London’s Low Line corridor in Southwark, thousands of deliveries are made each week, many of which are done by cars and vans, adding noise and pollution to our city. Bikes for Business is set to change that.

 

Key Statistics

  • 35.5% are broader organisations such as florists, offices, NHS, launderettes and hairdressers
  • 32% are food and beverage suppliers
  • 18% are creative arts, design and marketing
  • 17.1% are hospitality

 

Success stories

Meet two of our most recent businesses to participate in the project and how transitioning to a cargo bike has helped them.

Horton-Stephens Ltd

A film, moving image and photography company specialising in advertising, Partner, Niall Horton-Stephens, was looking for a way to transport their portfolios quickly and easily without adding to London’s pollution.

Previously, portfolios were transported to client meetings on the tube and in cabs leaving them vulnerable to delays. Niall contacted MP Smarter Travel through the online form to enquire about the scheme. Although they were already aware of cargo bikes, they needed help finding a bike that could hold multiple large and heavy portfolios easily.

Niall commented, “The weight and quantity of the portfolios we needed to transport made it impossible to deliver on foot. Using a car or van meant we had to pay the congestion charge and had a negative impact on the environment.”

We scheduled a meeting to understand their requirements and what they were looking for in a bike. After talking through a number of potential options we put them in touch with Fully Charged so they could visit their showroom and see the bikes for themselves. Since meeting with Fully Charged, Niall applied for the subsidy, which proved to be an easy process, and has now bought two bikes.

“Using a cargo bike helps us make really quick deliveries compared to a van and has zero emissions. We didn’t realise that cargo bikes could carry so much!”

Niall Horton-Stephens

 
The Manna Society

Based in London Bridge, The Manna Society is a day centre for the homeless and those in need. They provide breakfast, lunch and washing facilities every day, and since the pandemic have expanded to doing takeaway meals.

Prior to undertaking their cargo bike service trial with Pedal Me, The Manna Society had their own van and driver who would visit multiple supermarkets in the local area to pick-up excess food. However, their driver left the charity in April this year and picking up food every week became difficult.

Paddy Boyle from The Manna Society stated, "We were already aware of cargo bikes being available for pickups, but we weren’t sure if a cargo bike could carry all the food that we needed. After our driver left, we were keen to find an environmentally friendly and low-cost way of doing the pickups. When MP Smarter Travel got in touch with us about the trial, we decided to give cargo bikes a go.”

Over the one-month trial period, Pedal Me did 17 food pick-ups from multiple supermarkets which were all delivered to their kitchen on time for their food service.

“Pedal Me were very efficient and it had been surprisingly straight forward switching to them. We can book a month’s worth of deliveries once a month and it all gets taken care of.”

Paddy Boyle

Since the trial, The Manna Society have made the decision to permanently switch to cargo bikes for their future deliveries.

If you’d like to find out more about the Bikes for Business and how your business can benefit, contact us via our online form. If you are a cargo bike operator and would like to take part as a service provider, get in touch by emailing info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk.

18-11-2021

Ellie Gooch

Ellie joined MP Smarter Travel in November 2021 as an Assistant Consultant, working primarily on the collection of mode split data, engaging schools and assisting with our sustainable freight projects.


In 2021, Ellie completed a master’s in Sustainable Urbanism at University College London, where she studied the theory and practice of sustainable development and conducted primary research into public perceptions of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Before joining MP Smarter Travel, Ellie worked with the charity Camcycle campaigning for more, better, and safer cycling in and around the city of Cambridge. Ellie is looking forward to continuing to work towards meaningful changes in the urban environment in her role at MP Smarter Travel. In her free time, Ellie enjoys walks on Hampstead Heath and runs along Regent’s Canal.

Over the course of 2021 a lot has happened at MP Smarter Travel. We’ve started a whole host of new projects such as Bikes for Business for Team London Bridge, low traffic neighbourhood public consultation works for London Borough of Waltham Forest and a new partnership with Idling Action delivering workshops in schools across London.

Alongside these projects, we’ve expanded our team and are now joined by two Assistant Consultant’s Becca Jordan and Leo Charleson, and Senior Consultant, Leigh Gravenor. Come and meet the team!

 

Oli Ivens, Head of Consulting

Having thoroughly enjoyed a degree in Geography from the University of Manchester and with a childhood spent cycling in Belgium, Oli has found his career in sustainable transport consultancy incredibly fulfilling.

Arriving in London post-university with little more than a bag and his trusty bike, Oli worked across 13 London boroughs as a cycling instructor and cargo bike courier. Having joined MP Smarter Travel at a consultant grade Oli worked his way up to Principal Consultant and now to Head of Consulting.

Oli works across all of MP Smarter Travel’s projects as project director, providing output reviews, guidance and training and ensuring that the team maintain their award-winning standards and service. Outside of the office, Oli represents MP Smarter Travel at webinars and conferences, sharing our expertise and creating new relationships.

To date, his key projects have included:

  • Delivery of four cargo bike promotion projects in London Bridge, Brighton & Hove, London Borough of Islington and London Borough of Brent, engaging over 1,500 businesses on sustainable cycle logistics.
  • Conducting educational assemblies and air quality monitoring at 66 Brent schools as part of the borough’s Breathe Clean Project.
  • Consolidated waste delivery trips in London’s Shad Thames area.
  • Designed and developed Healthy Walking Route maps for schools with newly established ‘Healthy School Streets’.

 

Core to Oli’s beliefs is that the standard diesel/petrol car/van does not pair well with dense urban environments. Petrol vehicles pollute, make people sedentary, reduce social interactions and endanger vulnerable road users. Oli’s aim is to combat the issues created by cars/vans, to guide behaviour change and create a safer, healthier, more enjoyable urban environment. 

 

Leigh Gravenor, Senior Consultant

Over the past seven years, Leigh made the transition from training people to cycle, to leading behaviour change and cycle infrastructure projects in a London, to working at Pedal Me, helping it grow from 12 staff to over 60. It was there that he worked across all aspects of the business, dispatching, rider training, riding, HR, customer relations, sales and cycle maintenance. He has also worked on a number of projects helping to install new cycle parking and public cycle hire as well as creating new walking and cycle routes. If that wasn’t enough, he’s even an accredited professional cargo cyclist and cycle instructor!

As Senior Consultant, Leigh provides expert advice and support to businesses and organisations looking to make the switch from cars and vans to using cargo bikes for their deliveries. Leigh is the Bikes for Business project manager, working with Team London Bridge, to engage businesses across SE1, SE16 and SE17 to use cargo bikes for their deliveries

A true cycling and sustainability enthusiast, Leigh has a wealth of knowledge and experience on all things bikes and cargo bikes to help people and businesses switch to sustainable transport options.

 

Leo Charleson, Assistant Consultant

Since joining the team in August this year, Leo’s worked on a whole range of projects focusing on public and business engagement regarding low-traffic neighbourhoods and sustainable freight as part of our Team London Bridge’s Bikes for Business project. Since working on the Bikes for Business project Leo has been working with a range of companies including florists, restaurants, printers and designers, to promote the purchase of cargo bikes or the use of third-party cargo bike services.

Other project work includes engaging the public on low traffic neighbourhoods in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Brick Lane and in Shadwell as part of the Tower Hamlets Liveable Streets project and in Waltham Forest. This work was mainly completed in-person, engaging business owners, and the general public around school areas and outside masjids and churches.

Before joining MP Smarter Travel, Leo gained a BA in Geography from the University of Manchester. He also worked for an award-winning navigation app, Go Jauntly, which promoted walking and other active modes of transport as an alternative to driving.

Find out more about the Bikes for Business project on our website, and if you’re keen to get onboard, contact Leo at leo.charleson@mpsmartertravel.co.uk.

 

Ellie Gooch, Assistant Consultant

Ellie joined MP Smarter Travel in November 2021 as an Assistant Consultant, working primarily on the collection of mode split data, engaging schools and assisting with our sustainable freight projects.

Recently, Ellie completed a master’s in Sustainable Urbanism at University College London, during which she studied the theory and practice of sustainable development and conducted primary research into public perceptions of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Before joining MP Smarter Travel, Ellie worked with the charity Camcycle campaigning for more, better, and safer cycling in and around the city of Cambridge. Ellie is looking forward to continuing to work towards meaningful changes in the urban environment in her role at MP Smarter Travel. In her free time, Ellie enjoys walks on Hampstead Heath and runs along Regent’s Canal.

At MP Smarter Travel, we work with a wide range of cargo bike operators, riders and suppliers across London and the south-east, to help businesses make their deliveries more eco-friendly.

With a number of cargo bike projects underway including Team London Bridge’s Bikes for Business and Energy Savings Trust recent grant announcement, we wanted to introduce some of the operators we work with, and this month, we would like you to meet Hugo’s Eco-Delivery.

 

When did you start your business?

We officially launched in January 2021. It was just me and my tricycle doing store-to-store runs for a bakery in Catford. The owner didn’t have time to deliver their food products from their store in Catford to Sydenham, so I started delivering the lunchtime orders. By using a cargo bike we were able to move stock quickly and easily.

 

What types of businesses do you work with?

Since then, I’ve started working with a lot of different retailers, particularly food and beverage companies including the bakery’s suppliers. I quickly started doing wholesale deliveries for Neals Yard.

I also work with a start-up in Dulwich doing their bread runs on Saturday mornings. They do around 150-250 orders every Saturday within Dulwich and Forest Hill. It’s perfect, because cargo bikes are built for doing high volume deliveries in concentrated areas. Right now, I do about 37 deliveries in around two hours.

“Being on a bike gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility unlike a van where you’re in a confined space and have to think about parking every time you make a delivery.”

Hugo Harrison

 

How does Hugo’s Eco-Delivery work?

My business is designed to do high volume orders in small areas, which lowers the cost of delivery. I’ve recently relaunched my website with a new quote calculator, which is based on the distance travelled, not the number of deliveries. The average delivery price with us is around £3, but we charge around £1.20 and we provide discounts for close-by deliveries. Our customers also have the option to book a flexible delivery making deliveries even cheaper.

We do have an electric van for any longer journeys which is great, but we focus as much as possible on local deliveries by bikes. Currently, our riders operate in central, south-east and south-west London. As we grow, we’ll be able to deliver further afield.

 

What bikes do you use?

We worked with Cycles Maximus, who have over 20 years of experience building bespoke bikes, cargo bikes and tricycles. They built my bikes using second-hand frames and motors.

Unlike other cargo bike operators, our tricycles are fitted with torque sensor motors which operate based on the amount of power the riders are providing to the pedals. This provides a real workout leading to tremendous health benefits. I provide all the riders with plenty of healthy snacks and protein bars so they have all the energy they need.

 

What’s the biggest, or most unusual item you’ve transported?

That’s a good question! We’ve delivered a lot of things. Personally, I’ve delivered home fridges and furniture such as sofas, but the most unusual were Christmas trees. You can take the roof off and put them in the container or strap them on top.

We’ve even delivered full kegs. Each tricycle can do about four or five kegs at one time, however, for big deliveries we would use more than one rider. We recently worked with Brockley Brewery after their van broke down. A team of our riders met them at their location and completed their delivery early as we didn’t get stuck in traffic.

 

What advice would you give to businesses unsure about using a cargo bike operator?

There are so many positives for businesses to use cargo bikes, and it all helps make our environment cleaner and healthier for everyone. I would say, don’t get stuck on what you ‘think’ a cargo bike can do, and get in touch, you’d be surprised at just how versatile these bikes are and what they can carry. Here’s why businesses should use a cargo bike operator:

  • Cargo bikes are quicker than vans or cars because they can cut through traffic, and they’re not affected by parking and road restrictions
  • When compared against cars or vans, cargo bike deliveries are cheaper, particularly if you need lots of deliveries done all in one area.
  • We don’t have to pay congestion charge - that’s an automatic saving for the customer!
  • Our vehicles are fitted with live tracking so you know where your delivery is in real-time.

 

Contact us

If your business is located in, or you deliver frequently in SE1, SE16 or SE17, and would like to apply or find out more about Bikes for Business, fill in our online form and our team will be in touch.

Alternatively, if you’re a cargo bike operator and would like to be part of Bikes for Business, fill in our online form and select ‘operator’ for the first question.

 

MP Smarter Travel are pleased to announce that we will be working alongside Idling Action London to deliver school workshops and events at primary schools across 31 London boroughs.

Idling Action London is a London-wide behaviour change campaign which is helping to reduce localised air pollution caused by motorists leaving their engines running when parked. Idling Action delivers a wide range of events including educational sessions for motorists, fleet vehicle training, school workshops and working with local authorities to ensure idling regulations are enforced across London.

 

School Workshops and Events

Using a variety of interactive workshops, educational sessions and school assemblies, all designed for children from four to 11 years of age, the focus of the events will cover a range of topics including:

  • The composition of the air we breathe
  • Uncovering London’s most common pollutants and where they come from
  • How we measure the invisible threat of pollution
  • Connecting pollution exposure with health conditions
  • Encouraging students to think about their own journeys and the pollution they might encounter

 

Where possible, the workshops and events will be delivered on-site at schools.

About the Team

Oli Ivens, Head of Consulting and Project Director

Oli joined MP Smarter Travel in 2018 as a Consultant and has since worked his way to Head of Consulting. Since starting, Oli has worked with local authorities, Business Improvement Districts, schools and charities to deliver sustainable transport projects including Team London Bridge’s Bikes for Business, school travel plans and air quality monitoring.

 

Mia Wilson, Education Consultant 

Mia has over 30 years’ experience working as a school teacher, and has been an independent educational consultant for the past seven years. Over the course of her career, she has taught and advised schools on a range of aspects including student assessment and pupil tracking and has delivered anti-violence and anti-bullying workshops to primary and secondary age students. 

As part of the Idling Action project, Mia will be delivering the majority of the workshops and events. 

 

MP Smarter Travel 

Since MP Smarter Travel’s inception in 2012, our consultants have worked with schools and local authorities across London delivering sustainable transport workshops, hands up surveys, clean air initiatives and school travel plans projects through TfL STARS. To date, we’ve delivered 25 years’ worth of full school travel plan programmes since 2011-12 across 10 different London boroughs, all to improve the health and wellbeing of those who live and work in London. 

Contact us today to see how our team can help schools in your area to deliver a range of engaging and interactive workshops and sustainable transport projects by emailing info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or calling 0207 960 2553

 

This September, MP Smarter Travel had the pleasure of speaking at Fully Charged’s, first ever eCargo Bike Summit alongside a wide range of commercial cargo bike operators, active travel experts and the Energy Saving Trust (EST), facilitators of the Department for Transport’s current eCargo bike grant.

 

London air quality

Air pollution in the UK has now been above legal limits for 10 years, not least of which is caused by the number of motorised last-mile deliveries on our streets. According to the Mayor of London’s office, 36 per cent of trips made in London are under 2km (that’s 1.25 miles), a distance that could be walked in around 30 minutes. What’s more, research conducted by King’s College London found that 99 per cent of Londoners live in areas where pollution exceeds guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Businesses need to act to help reduce air pollution, yet despite the number of research reports and overwhelming evidence of London’s poor air quality, many businesses are still unaware of the zero-emission transport options that exist across the capital and nationally. For this reason, we feel it is key that as many people and businesses hear about eCargo bikes as possible.

 

eCargo bike summit 

Fully Charged and EST’s event consisted of several inspiring and thought-provoking talks from experts in the industry ready to take up the gauntlet and combat air pollution. 

Recently, the EST, in partnership with the Department for Transport, launched a £400k fund whereby businesses could receive up to 40 per cent off the cost of an eCargo bike. Rachel Swiatek from the EST attended the event and gave an insightful look into the nuts and bolts of the fund, showing how businesses can apply. The 40 per cent saving makes for a compelling economic argument to offset the initial cost of eCargo bikes for businesses! 

Following this, Dan Parsons, Founding Partner of Fully Charged, was joined by a panel of experts including Farah Asemi (Ecofleet), Tom de Wilton (Oxwash) and MP Smarter Travel’s Head of Consulting Oli Ivens, for an open question and answer session. Discussions focused on the opportunities, challenges and the future of commercial eCargo bike adoption.  

Tom de Wilton described how eCargo bikes require lower upfront and running cost in comparison to diesel/petrol vans. eCargo bikes also offer more time-efficient deliveries. Both economic and environmental factors were instrumental in Oxwash choosing an eCargo bike fleet for their laundry services across Cambridge, London and Oxford. The fact that 6,700kg of CO2 is saved per eCargo bike, compared to vans, echoed the environmental benefits of their fleet adoption. 

Farah Asemi acknowledged that the transient nature of rider staff can be a hurdle for third-party operators and stressed the importance of having a steady pool of riders in order to meet schedule demands. In addition to this, a robust software platform was also recognised as essential in keeping delivery operations on schedule.  

Several key factors were discussed in continuing the commercial growth of eCargo bikes. Oli Ivens identified that transport policy is becoming increasingly conducive to supporting active modes, such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion. Brownfield sites in urban centres will continue to provide a tangible solution in locating new consolidation hubs, which will be instrumental in ensuring last-mile efficiency in the coming years. 

We also learnt that last year in the Netherlands and Germany, there were more ebikes sold than standard cycles and that Germany is experiencing a 50 per cent year-on-year growth in the cargo bike market. In our view, a growing eCargo bike sector, with a greater variety of professional operators is key to bringing eCargo bikes into the mainstream.  

 

Business engagement 

MP Smarter Travel deliver award-winning projects across the UK that work to accelerate the uptake of eCargo bikes. Through MP Smarter Travel’s business engagements, we have found that companies are putting a stronger preference on their environmental image and CSR and therefore require clean alternatives to their existing polluting vehicles. From the content of discussion at the eCargo Bike Summit, it would appear that eCargo bike operators are primed and ready to lead the way in reducing urban air pollution and providing businesses with a tangible solution to improving their environmental image. eCargo bike operators are extremely professional outfits, promoting high quality rider training, environmental accreditations, delivery tracking and insurance. With both the environmental and economic arguments supporting eCargo bikes, we expect to see a gradual increase in eCargo bike take up over the coming years. If you would like to see eCargo bike take up accelerated in your area, contact MP Smarter Travel to discuss the best approach.     

 

Watch the Q&A online 

Watch the full question and answer session online and see how cargo bikes could benefit your business or businesses in your area. 

10-09-2021

Leo Charleson

Leo joined MP Smarter Travel as an Assistant Consultant in August 2021, working primarily on business engagement for Bikes for Business, a project MP Smarter Travel are leading for Team London Bridge.

Leo recently completed his BA Geography degree at the University of Manchester, developing his interests in urban environments and mobility. Leo looks to draw upon his experiences in transport planning to help promote sustainable travel initiatives in the public and private sectors. In his free time, Leo is normally either cycling in the Surrey Hills or rock climbing.

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