Air quality in the UK is under close scrutiny. Earlier this year the UK and five other nations were referred to Europe’s highest court for failing to tackle illegal levels of air pollution.

In particular diesel emissions from vehicles are contributing to dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air, which can lead to a number of health issues including asthma and lung disease.

There are plenty of positive steps being taken to help clean up the UK’s air. Through the Climate Change Act the UK government has set a target to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and set out a path to get there. There will also be a ban on the sale of new diesel or petrol cars after 2040.

At BOC we feel it’s important to take steps to lower the emissions from our fleet, which is why we’ve launched DRIVE.

Fuel-efficiency training

Our Transport team is behind DRIVE, our new initiative aimed at reducing overall diesel emissions through fuel-efficient driving and recognising people who are making a positive contribution towards this goal.

Fleet drivers will undertake fuel-efficiency training; learning ways to reduce the impact of vehicle emissions when they are out on the road. So far across 20 BOC sites 300 drivers have successfully completed their training. Over 60% of these sites have reduced carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions against a 2017 baseline. The remaining sites are working hard to improve performance.

While DRIVE is still in its early stages, the benefits of eco-driver training are widely recognised, with the government stating that it has clear carbon reduction benefits, particularly when backed by performance monitoring. The Department for Transport Freight Carbon Review cited it as one of the most popular measures taken to reduce HGV fuel consumption.

Top tips for efficient driving

Many of the efficient driving tips taught as part of the DRIVE scheme can apply to any vehicle. Just following these five simple points could help significantly lower fuel consumption and therefore emissions.

1. Drop your speed – sticking to a top speed of 53 mph can save as much as 5% fuel compared to travelling at 55 mph.
2. Plan well ahead – use all the information available to you on the road. Look out for stopping situation and come off the accelerator so you can keep your vehicle moving. Fewer gear changes helps save fuel while unnecessary braking consumes up to 0.75 litres of fuel
3. Make use of the controls – using cruise control and for HGVs using the exhaust brake can help cut down on fuel
4. Keep up vehicle maintenance – worn and underinflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by 5%
5. Use air-con wisely – having it turned on can increase fuel consumption by 2%

Beyond DRIVE

There are several other steps we are taking to help lower our fleet’s environmental impact, including scheduling deliveries to maximise fuel efficiency, operating the most fuel-efficient vehicles, optimising the fleet design through retrofit technology and improved engine efficiency.

DRIVE will continue to be rolled out across our sites in 2019. This programme gives our employees the skills needed to drive in the most efficient way reducing fuel consumption and improving the air we breathe in our local communities.

Nigel Morris
Business Improvement Manager – BOC